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
Starting next year, college athletes in the state of Florida will be eligible for compensation in situations where their name, image, or likeness is being used.The announcement was made Friday afternoon by Governor Ron DeSantis at the University of Miami.The governor said that he “viewed it as something that was a matter of fairness,” when it came to allowing the athletes to be paid.“We’re not talking about, you get a scholarship to Florida State and Miami and the universities are gonna pay you to play. That’s not what we’re talking about,” DeSantis said. “But if you have a situation where you have some of the great athletes, particularly in sports like football and basketball, whose name, image, and likeness is being used to make millions and millions of dollars, and they don’t have the opportunity to get any of that, there’s something fundamentally unfair for that,” DeSantis said.“If EA Sports wants to do NCAA Football and they’re gonna have some of these guys who are great players, they’re gonna use their name, image, and likeness, then there can be some compensation for that,” DeSantis continued.The Florida Board of Governors are still hammering out the finer details of the bill but it is expected to go into affect by July 1st of 2021.