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FERC’s New Transmission Order // EDF Gets Green Financing for Nuclear Extensions

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: FERC has voted on a big new transmission rule, the EDF gets green approval for nuclear extensions, and more.

FERC’s New Transmission Order

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission passed a watershed transmission order.

“The rule — proposed in April 2022 — requires transmission planners to consider multiple forward-looking factors, such as the changing resource mix and customer demand on their systems, over at least 20 years when they develop their plans,” reports Utility Dive. “Transmission operators must also consider seven economic and reliability benefits when considering possible transmission projects, such as how transmission could help grid operators handle extreme weather events.”

Order 1920 passed two to one, with Democrats Allison Clements and Willie Phillips in the affirmative and the lone Republican, Mark Christie, dissenting. We’re going to take a more detailed look at the bill in Friday’s Deep Dive.

EDF Gets Green Financing for Nuclear Extensions

Aerial view of Civaux nuclear power plant.

France’s national utility, EDF, inked $6.3 billion in green bank loans to extend the life of its nuclear fleet.

“The loans - which have maturities of between 3 and 5 years - have been arranged with major international banks, including BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Crédit Agricole CIB, ING, Natixis CIB, Société Générale and Wells Fargo,” reports World Nuclear News. 

The news marks a departure from the finance world’s stance on nuclear. Last year, the Center on Global Energy Policy published a report on nuclear’s absence from ESG financing. No major bank, according to the report, explicitly included nuclear as part of its sustainability bond framework. In fact, most banks excluded it (57%) with the rest remaining silent (40%).

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Conversation Starters

  • US shale is poised for a 6-month high next month. “After U.S. oil output hit an all-time high in the final two months of 2023 with year-over-year growth clocking in at over 1 million barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that American shale output from the top-producing regions would soar to a six-month high in June,” reports Oilprice.com. “In its monthly Drilling Productivity Report released on Monday, the EIA said production in the top basins in the American shale patch would hit 9.85 million barrels per day–a volume not seen since December.  With shale output accounting for some 75% of total U.S. oil production, and well productivity improved by the day, output has a clear path for increasing. 

  • More Russian energy sanctions inbound. “The European Union is discussing with member states proposals to sanction key Russian liquefied natural gas projects and a ban on using EU ports to re-export supplies destined for third countries, as part of an effort to limit Moscow’s ability to generate revenues from the fossil fuel,” reports Bloomberg. “The potential measures are being explored as part of the latest round of sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The goal would be to further hit Russia’s LNG supply supply chain and future revenues at projects like Arctic LNG 2, the UST Luga LNG terminal and the Murmansk plant, according to people familiar with the matter. The US has previously sanctioned some of those projects. Under the plan, ports in EU member states would also be prohibited from importing Russian supplies that are then re-exported to third countries. But there wouldn’t be a ban on purchasing the fuel for use within the bloc.”

  • China likely to respond to new US Sanctions. “The United States could see a significant response from China following any U.S. tariff actions, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday ahead of expected new tariffs targeting certain sectors this week,” reports Reuters. “Yellen, speaking to reporters after a broadband event in rural Fredericksburg, Virginia, said she and other U.S. officials had made clear to China they could reconfigure tariffs first imposed under former President Donald Trump to be more strategic, but that any changes would be narrowly targeted. ‘We've been clear that in reviewing it we may decide that it's appropriate to reconfigure what's been done in a more strategic way,’ she said.”

Crom’s Blessing

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