North Carolina may take up securitization idea to speed coal plant closures FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:A controversial ratemaking bill in North Carolina contains a little-discussed section that — if amended — could offer a financing model to help Duke Energy close its coal-fired power plants sooner rather than later.Senate Bill 559 includes language authorizing the utility to recoup storm repair costs with bonds secured by ratepayers, a mechanism called securitization. The Duke-backed bill cleared the state Senate this month, but its pace has slowed in the House, primarily because of another provision that would allow upfront, annual rate hikes over multi-year periods.Clean energy advocates say lawmakers should sideline the bill’s ratemaking section and explore broadening the securitization tool to allow Duke to refinance the debt on its aging coal fleet.Duke Energy spent an estimated $571 million last year responding to hurricanes Florence and Michael, and Winter Storm Diego, according to nonpartisan legislative staff. Securitization would allow the utility to recover those expenses right away, rather than waiting for its next rate case.While clean energy advocates oppose the bill’s ratemaking section, they haven’t protested its securitization language. But, said Cassie Gavin, the lobbyist for the North Carolina Sierra Club, “we don’t see why it should be so limited.” Gavin and other advocates say Duke could use securitized bonds for other uses, including paying off the debt on its fleet of decades-old coal-fired power plants, allowing the utility to shut them down years ahead of schedule.The company has closed or converted half of its coal-fired power plant fleet since 2011 and plans to close five more units in the next five years. But its latest long-range plans show it will keep 15 units running until they have fully depreciated, in many cases past 2033. One 844-megawatt facility west of Charlotte, called Cliffside 6, is slated to operate until 2048. Advocates argue keeping these plants open until their value has fully depreciated is uneconomical, with their ongoing costs increasingly more expensive than building new renewable generation or other sources of power.More: In controversial N.C. ratemaking bill, a tool to help retire Duke coal plants
6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Despite a significant drop in branch transactions, increased cost of processing and minimal improvement in productivity, the reduction in the number and size of bank branches has not kept pace.by: W. Michael Scott, President and CEO, FMSITime and technology have a way of changing people, for better or worse. When things change for the better, it usually means something or someone is getting left out. Remember when cell phones became the next big thing? People laughed, but soon land lines were obnoxious and “old school”.Or what about old analog TV, with the roof antenna versus cable’s offering of a few additional channels when it first came out? The major TV networks didn’t predict how the public would handle a slight variation in the shows available to watch. They thought they would rule forever … but they were wrong.Likewise, in the not so distant past, the majority of the population was moaning about the hours of banks and credit unions. There’s no way the younger generation will remember this, but bank teller lines and drive-thru tellers were chock-full of account holders. Sometimes a single trip just to deposit a check or withdraw money for the coming week could take as much as thirty minutes or more!Fast forward to today, and the entire banking scene has changed. At any given time, branches can be empty. Front-line employees appear to wait mindlessly behind their terminals, waiting to work. Something doesn’t seem right. How did the system go from not enough branches to way too many branches? continue reading »
One of the house designs at Villa World’s Silvan Rise estate at Dakabin.The sun is well and truly shining on the property market in the Moreton Bay region.A recent report by Hotspotting found the region was the third best place to buy property in Australia, with everything from rural lots to waterfront apartments on the market.Twenty-nine active residential projects – the highest number of projects in the southeast – are in the works, according to the latest Oliver Hume report. This comes as the latest REIQ report revealed rental vacancies had tightened by 0.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent. “This market is generally a tight market and it is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions,” the REIQ report found.Developer VillaWorld has reported strong sales at its Silvan Rise estate at Dakabin, predicting a sell out within a year of its launch. Villa World is forecasting that the remaining homes at its Silvan Rise development will be snapped up in the next few months, delivering a sellout within 12 months of the project’s initial release.Stockland will also launch a new community at Rothwell, with land at Promenade expected to be released in June.Moreton Bay offers a vast array of property options and locations, with semirural Samford the region’s first million-dollar suburb.CoreLogic data shows the median house sales price in the Samford Valley has reached $1 million, with homes in the nearby rural suburbs of Camp Mountain ($950,000), Cedar Creek ($940,000) and Highvale ($870,000) also showing growth. Newport on the Redcliffe Peninsula has the highest median sales price for a waterfront suburb at $820,000. Stockland is constructing a masterplanned community around a 23ha lake at Newport, which will be home to around 5400 people. Villa World’s Silvan Rise development at Dakabin.THE developer behind a residential community at Dakabin is predicting it will sell out within a year of its launch.More than half of the 109 lots available at Villa World’s Silvan Rise estate have sold since it hit the market in June last year, with complete four bedroom homes selling from $461,500. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus19 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market19 hours agoVilla World development manager Craig Morgan said buyers were drawn to Silvan Rise’s enviable location within the Moreton Bay region, one of the nation’s fastest growing areas. “Buyers love that North Lakes is just a five-minute drive away from their home,” Mr Morgan said.“They are also less than a kilometre from Dakabin State School and Pine Rivers Cricket Club.“Silvan Rise puts its residents on the doorstep of a wide array of retail, education, sporting, leisure and health facilities that bring tremendous convenience to daily life and supports a more active and family friendly lifestyle.” Dakabin’s proximity to employment hubs and a number of key infrastructure upgrades was also appealing to purchasers.Mr Morgan pointed to the opening of the $1.2 billion Moreton Bay Rail Link as a major drawcard for buyers, making the daily commute easier. He said the Bruce Highway upgrade at Narangba would also make it easier for residents to get to and from work.“And in nearby Petrie, there is more than $150 million in development to come, including a new campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast, which is expected to generate 2,500 jobs alone,” he said. “Dakabin is surrounded by job-rich areas such as North Lakes, Strathpine and Caboolture, while the wider Moreton Bay Region is forecast to experience a whopping 54.4 per cent rise in employment over the next 25 years. “Silvan Rise is ideally placed now and well in to the future to deliver residents easy access to these local work hubs.” Silvan Rise’s architect-designed three and four-bedroom homes have open-plan interiors connecting to patio entertaining areas. Many home designs also feature an additional multipurpose room and a walk-in pantry to cater for growing families. Each home has quality inclusions such as stone benchtops, leading brand stainless-steel appliances, a Colorbond roof, double lockup garage and full landscaping. ***CASE STUDY 2 PROMENADEDeveloper: Stockland Location: Morris Road, Rothwell Stockland Isles of Newport residential development Scarborough Moreton Bay aerial view.Meanwhile, Beachmere, which is between Caboolture and Bribie Island, posted the biggest 12 month growth, with median house sales up 43.3 per cent, according to CoreLogic. It was followed closely by Kurwongbah, which rose 40.5 per cent.The Moreton Bay region has experienced strong growth, with the population increasing 12.5 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 census. And that growth shows no signs of slowing, with a huge amount of residential and commercial investment in the region. The new University Sunshine Coast campus at Petrie is under construction, with the first students expected in 2020. The Moreton Bay rail line is open, and numerous residential developers are capitalising on the projected growth.***CASE STUDY 1SILVAN RISEDeveloper: Villa WorldPrice: From $461,500Location: Dakabin Land at Promenade at Rothwell is expected to be released by Stockland in JuneA new community worth $44 million will soon be launched at Rothwell, a suburb within the Moreton Bay region real estate powerhouse.Just 35km from the Brisbane CBD, Rothwell has seen a 21.4 per cent growth in median house sales prices in the past five years, according to CoreLogic. Existing homes are selling for an average of $425,000, and with the opening of the Redcliffe train line in 2016 the suburb is set to become more popular with buyers wanting easy access to the city and Moreton Bay. Capitalising on the expected growth, Stockland will release its first residential homesites at its family-friendly Promenade Rothwell community. Promenade will feature 191 homes close to walking and cycle paths, parks, schools, public transport and shops. Stockland’s acting Queensland general manager for residential communities David Laner said the community would be in an “enviable location” for buyers seeking bayside living and an easy commute to the city. “Our nearby communities at Newport and North Lakes have been incredibly popular, and we look forward to providing an affordable entry-level market opportunity,” he said. “Seven parks, two private schools and a childcare centre will be within a 1.5km radius of future homes, and a shopping centre will be a few minutes away by car.” Rothwell Train Station is about 2km away. Prospective buyers can now register their interest, with the first land release expected in June.