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Judge orders new ‘matching’ policy for some BP oil spill claims – WWL


WWL

Judge orders new 'matching' policy for some BP oil spill claims
WWL
In this May 3, 2010, photo, workers place oil containment booms around in the central marshes in St. Bernard Parish, La. Unpredictable and tough to solve, the stack of problems on President Barack Obama's desk is growing unwieldy. It's presenting him

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BP oil spill claimant must return $357000 payment, judge rules – The Times-Picayune


SFGate

BP oil spill claimant must return $ 357000 payment, judge rules
The Times-Picayune
A federal judge has ordered a claimant at the center of an investigation into alleged fraud in the BP oil spill settlement program to return a $ 357,000 payment. The ruling comes after a months-long investigation into settlement payments to Casey C
Federal judge rules BP oil spill damage claim must be repaidnorthwestohio.com

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BP judge is asked to rescind Gulf oil spill award – NOLA.com

BP judge is asked to rescind Gulf oil spill award
NOLA.com
A former FBI director investigating alleged misconduct inside the settlement program for compensating victims of BP's 2010 Gulf oil spill has concluded that a claimant at the center of the investigation was awarded more than $ 357,000 based on

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Judge Rules Solar Power A Better Deal For Minnesota Than Natural Gas



If you liked the Credit Suisse findings I shared yesterday, you’re going to love this clean energy news out of Minnesota: Administrative Law Judge Eric Lipman this week concluded that Xcel Energy should invest in some large solar power arrays rather than natural gas generators in order to meet projected power needs in Minnesota. The reason solar was preferred is that the solar power arrays would offer ratepayers a better deal. If Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) upholds the decision, Minnesota could see its solar power capacity increase at least 7 times over.

“Edina-based Geronimo Energy plans to build about 20 large solar power arrays on sites across Xcel’s service area at a cost of $ 250 million” if the decision holds strong, StarTribune writes. Geronimo has already built wind farms in the state, farms that supply electricity to Xcel Energy. The company is building more wind farms in Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan, and Nebraska. However, it seems that Geronimo is now turning its eyes towards increasingly competitive solar.

Geronimo Vice President Betsy Engelking claims that this project would be the first solar project in the US to officially outcompete natural gas in a state without utility or state solar incentives.

The key force behind this solar first is one very familiar to CleanTechnica readers: “The cost of solar has come down much faster than anyone had anticipated. This is one of the reasons solar is going to explode.”

Indeed, the cost of solar panels is about 100 times lower than it was a few decades ago, and half of what it was just a handful of years ago.

Click here to embiggen.

Image Credit: Brian McConnell, Resilience

price of solar power drop graph

Interestingly, the decision to make these power projects compete on price was a first in Minnesota. StarTribune reporter David Shaffer writes:

It is the first time the state has used a competitive bidding process for a major power generation project. The commission ordered the trial-like proceeding to force energy companies to compete on price.

Xcel, based in Minneapolis, and three other energy companies offered various proposals, mostly generators powered by natural gas. Xcel’s plan included a new gas generator at its Black Dog plant in Burnsville, where the utility intends to retire the remaining coal-burning units.

In a 50-page ruling, Lipman said “the greatest value to Minnesota and Xcel’s ratepayers is drawn from selecting Geronimo’s solar energy proposal …”

Xcel Energy — no stranger to controversy — isn’t that into the judge’s decision, and the energy company is writing up a response aimed at swaying the PUC. (As always, Xcel is willing to fight for what it it thinks is right … better for itself, not its ratepayers. To catch up a bit on Xcel’s relationship to solar, here are a few stories to check out:

  1. Improvements Needed to Xcel’s Proposed MN Community Solar Program
  2. As Xcel Follows National Playbook to Attack Solar, Ballot Results Say ‘Not in Colorado’
  3. Colorado Solar Net Metering Under Threat, 30,000 Coloradans Fight Back
  4. Xcel Energy — 2-Faced On Value Of Solar Power

Actually, it seems that Xcel isn’t so much against cheaper solar as it is against solar from anyone but itself.

Hopefully the Minnesota PUC is on the side of the people Minnesota and thus decides to concur with the judge in this case, but feel free to reach out and contact the PUC if you want to be sure the commissioners understand the value of solar in Minnesota.

Minnesota — Solar?

If you didn’t think snowy Minnesota was a likely candidate for strong solar growth, you’re probably not alone. However, it was recently identified by GTM Research as a potentially huge solar market. Utility-scale solar is cheaper due to economies of scale, but rooftop solar is also a great investment for homeowners and businesses there. As I wrote back in October, “for homeowners who go solar in Minnesota, you’re expected (on average) to get a 10% internal rate of return (IRR) on your investment, which beats the S&P 50-year CAGR of 9.9% — very, very good.”

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Minnesota actually has a requirement that utilities get 1.5% of their electricity from solar power by 2020, which Judge Lipman noted these proposed solar projects could help with, and it has a 2030 goal of 10% electricity from solar.

For renewable energy as a whole, Xcel Energy is required to be providing 31.5% of its electricity from renewables by the end of 2020. With only 1.5% designated for solar (minimum), cheaper wind is clearly king. However, solar is an excellent match for times of peak demand when the wind isn’t always blowing, and as Judge Lipman has concluded, solar PV is now even cheaper than natural gas for that purpose.

Geronimo Solar Project Timeline

If approved by the PUC, Geronimo intends to build its proposed solar power plants in 2015 and 2016. It already has the necessary land, as well as extra land if an issue popped up with the preferred sites. If built, Enel Green Power — Geronimo’s financing partner — would have the first option to purchase the power plants. If Enel Green Power decided not to purchase them for some reason, Geronimo could then sell them to Xcel or another energy company.

Shining A Light On The Key Point

While most of us are not that interested in the electricity specifics of the state of Minnesota, the overall point of this story is huge: solar power can now outcompete natural gas in the US, even in northerly Minnesota.

Actually, pulling from a September CleanTechnica article, it’s much cheaper (despite what Xcel might like to contend): “rooftop solar in Minnesota costs 36-75% less than natural gas power plants in delivering peak energy.” And that’s not even counting harmful pollution and the associated health problems society must pay for electricity from natural gas.

With solar costs continuing to fall while natural gas prices rise, that price difference will only grow.

Judge Rules Solar Power A Better Deal For Minnesota Than Natural Gas was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 other subscribers: RSS | Facebook | Twitter.

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Federal judge temporarily suspends BP oil spill settlement payments – NOLA.com


WWL First News

Federal judge temporarily suspends BP oil spill settlement payments
NOLA.com
A federal judge has temporarily suspended BP oil spill settlement payments to businesses while he reconsiders the company's arguments against compensating those that cannot trace losses directly to the nation's worst offshore oil spill. Judge Carl
BP oil spill claims halted by shocking court reversalsWWL

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Oil Spill Judge ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in BP – Businessweek


Live Trading News

Oil Spill Judge 'Deeply Disappointed' in BP
Businessweek
BP has really irritated Judge Carl Barbier this time. From his courtroom in New Orleans, Barbier presides over the multifaceted litigation concerning the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He has sole discretion over a series of decisions determining
Federal judge denies BP's 'disappointing' attempt to rewrite oil spill NOLA.com
BP's settlement appeals are 'hitches' in quickly moving, complex case, expert saysLegal News Line
$ BP BP Declares War On Trial Judge In Gulf Oil Spill CaseLive Trading News
FuelFix (blog)
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Federal judge denies BP’s ‘disappointing’ attempt to rewrite oil spill … – NOLA.com


Live Trading News

Federal judge denies BP's 'disappointing' attempt to rewrite oil spill
NOLA.com
A federal judge overseeing the settlement of private claims stemming from the BP Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill issued a harshly worded opinion late Friday, charging BP with going back on its word by asking him and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court
BP Declares Total War on Trial Judge in Gulf Spill CaseBusinessweek
$ BP BP Declares War On Trial Judge In Gulf Oil Spill CaseLive Trading News
BP's settlement appeals are 'hitches' in quickly moving, complex case, expert saysLegal News Line
FuelFix (blog)
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BP Declares Total War on Trial Judge in Gulf Spill Case – Businessweek

BP Declares Total War on Trial Judge in Gulf Spill Case
Businessweek
BP has escalated an extraordinary courtroom attack on the federal judge in New Orleans presiding over the multibillion-dollar litigation concerning the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The assault on U.S District Judge Carl Barbier concerns one
BP asks court to order judge to limit spill paymentsFuelFix (blog)
BP Asks 5th Circ. To Force Judge To Stop Deepwater ClaimsLaw360 (subscription)

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Judge orders BP oil spill claims chief to set terms – WWL


WWL

Judge orders BP oil spill claims chief to set terms
WWL
NEW ORLEANS – BP and private plaintiffs have been fighting for a year over how to interpret their own oil spill claims settlement agreement, so it's little wonder that both sides have now repeatedly failed to agree on which claims they're even fighting
Federal judge sets rules for submission of summary documents in BP oil spill trialNOLA.com
BP, Government Witnesses Testify On Gulf Oil Spill Estimates In Civil TrialWBUR
Oceanography professor uncovers BP data discrepancies after 2010 Gulf oil spillTallahassee Democrat (blog)
ABC News –New Times Broward-Palm Beach (blog) –Aljazeera.com
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Judge Hears Conflicting Estimates of BP Oil Spill – ABC News


BBC News

Judge Hears Conflicting Estimates of BP Oil Spill
ABC News
For weeks after BP's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, people across the globe were captivated by a live video feed from underwater cameras that showed the company's blown-out well belching plumes of black crude into the water. On Monday 
Gulf Oil Spill Trial: Focus Put on Scientists' Spill EstimatesThe Weather Channel
Judge hears conflicting theories to explain how much oil spilled into Gulf Fox News
BP fights fed's oil spill estimates in courtFuelFix (blog)

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