State agencies challenge utility’s plan to purchase gas-fired power plant in Minnesota

first_imgState agencies challenge utility’s plan to purchase gas-fired power plant in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star Tribune:Xcel Energy’s proposed $650 million purchase of a gas-fired power plant in Mankato has run into strong opposition from two state agencies concerned about its potential impact on ratepayers.Minneapolis-based Xcel in November announced its intent to buy the large power plant from Atlanta-based Southern Power. Xcel currently buys electricity from the Mankato plant on a long-term contract. The company says owning the facility would entail significant savings for ratepayers and would help preserve electric grid reliability.But the Minnesota Department of Commerce concluded that Xcel’s proposed ownership of the Mankato plant “is unlikely to create substantial savings,” according to a recent regulatory filing. “Overall, Xcel has not shown need or any net benefits to ratepayers for Xcel’s proposed (gas plant) purchase.” Meanwhile, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office slammed the deal in a recent regulatory filing, saying Xcel “structured the proposed acquisition in an opaque backroom deal and in the absence of any competition, transparency or meaningful need for alternative analysis.”The two state offices represent the public before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which is likely to decide next month on the Mankato deal.Xcel, Minnesota’s largest electric utility, rejects criticisms from both agencies, noting in a statement to the Star Tribune that it has followed the “appropriate process” with its acquisition proposal. Xcel said the Mankato deal is vital for system stability as the company adds variable solar and wind energy while closing its coal-fired power plants, a primary source of constant power. “The purchase of the Mankato Energy Center will help pave the way to exit the use of coal in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than planned,” Xcel said in the statement. The company declined to make an executive available for comment.In a PUC filing, the Commerce Department questioned whether the Mankato purchase is needed to facilitate Xcel’s early exit from coal.More: Regulators rip Xcel’s proposed $650 million deal for Mankato power plantlast_img read more

MUI: ‘Mudik’ from virus-affected areas ‘haram’

first_imgAnwar Abbas said the declaration was not a fatwa (religious order by a Muslim leader), but instead his personal opinion after consulting the Quran, the hadith, and other fatwas issued by the MUI.Annually, some 20 million people from Greater Jakarta travel to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri.Despite the fact that Greater Jakarta is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided not to impose a ban on mudik for economic reasons.“[The President] underlines that there is no official ban on people going mudik during the 2020 Idul Fitri holiday period. The travelers, however, must self-isolate for 14 days, will be treated as people under monitoring [ODP], as per the World Health Organization protocol and will be observed by their respective local administrations,” presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman said in a statement on Thursday, shortly after a speech by the President on the matter. The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has announced that mudik (mass exodus) from areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is haram – forbidden under Islamic law.”Mudik from one COVID-19-free city to another is OK, but mudik from areas affected by COVID-19 could cause the mudik travelers to spread the disease to other people. Since [the virus] is very contagious and dangerous, it means people who insist on going on mudik will have done something haram,” MUI secretary-general Anwar Abbas said in a statement on Friday.”There’s a hadith that says going to pandemic-affected areas or leaving them is forbidden. Breaking religious rules and medical protocols is clearly dangerous and could endanger one’s own life as well as other people,” he said. Thousands of people from Greater Jakarta have already gone on mudik as they have been deprived of their livelihood due to large-scale physical distancing policies.Several regional leaders have discouraged mudik from Greater Jakarta due to concerns about a possible explosion of coronavirus cases throughout the country in the wake of the exodus.On Thursday, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil posted on Facebook a news story about a 72-year-old stroke patient from Ciamis who tested positive for COVID-19 after having contact with his child, who had come from virus-stricken Jakarta.“This story is one of many cases of parents in West Java who become COVID-19 positive after being visited by their children or relatives who are unaware that they are carrying the virus to their hometowns,” he said. “Restrain yourselves and love your parents. Don’t go home now.”Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has urged residents working in Jakarta not to return home and has demanded residents of the province not to go to the capital city.“Stay at home unless it’s very urgent. And please end the stigma against COVID-19 patients. They need our prayers and support,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Governance changes, regulatory action needed to grow infrastructure holdings, says OECD

first_imgAccording to the OECD, the growth of alternative investments such as infrastructure was challenging the traditional governance models in place at many institutions.“For example more expertise at the level of pension board members will be required perhaps including specialists that have appropriate asset and risk management skills.“In order to reduce costs and agency risks many funds are also looking at insourcing asset management,” the survey said.“Still, the risks of being different – by adopting unconventional asset allocation techniques or investments – are a challenge or even a barrier for investors.”The report stressed that it would be of ever-growing importance to monitor the systemic risks posed by larger pension funds, emphasising the need for sound governance and  regulatory oversight.It further recommended that governments and regulators start collecting and standardising data around long-term investments, so that differing methodologies and definitions do not hinder the ability to compare performance.“Definitions of alternative assets which ensure that the data collected and reported is comparable across pension funds is required in order to monitor the flows into different types of alternative assets and their respective cost and performance,” the survey said.“This is vital not only for investors but also for regulators and other policymakers in order to help them better understand the exposure of pension funds in different countries and to develop appropriate regulation.”,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to annual OECD survey of large pension funds Sovereign wealth and pension reserve investors worth $7.8trn (€6.2trn) only allocate 1% of assets to infrastructure, with regulatory action and governance changes needed to allow for greater investment, according to the OECD.The think tank’s annual survey of large-scale asset owners, which investigated the institutions’ long-term investment activity, found that only $80bn of the surveyed assets were allocated to infrastructure.It found that the allocation to infrastructure had been stable since 2010, and said that the future growth in the market would be determined by regulation and availability of projects.The overwhelming majority – or $70bn of assets – was invested in unlisted infrastructure, with the remainder in infrastructure debt. Of the unlisted exposure, 29% was held in unlisted funds, and 68% in direct or joint ventures projects – an allocation that had grown since 2010.last_img read more

Rodwell eyes return

first_imgManchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell hopes to be back from his latest injury setback by the end of the month. The highly-rated Rodwell joined the champions in a £12million deal from Everton last summer but his City career is yet to take off. His initial performances were indifferent and he then had a short spell out with a groin injury before being struck by more hamstring trouble in October. Rodwell’s early years at Goodison Park were also plagued by hamstring injuries. He has since worked hard on his fitness and made a number of lifestyle changes to try to eradicate the recurring problem. He insists he is not disheartened by this latest setback. He said: “I was more upset for our physio department who have been fantastic and have helped me feel stronger than ever before. We’ve had a discussion and we all agree that the best course of action is to continue what we were doing before because it worked so well. “This is an injury that can strike at any time to anyone and I’m sure it is something that I’ll be rid of before too long, but it’s an ongoing process and something that can’t be rushed.” Manager Roberto Mancini is likely to update on the fitness of two key players before the end of the week. Captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last seven games with calf problems while striker Sergio Aguero’s knee injury has sidelined him for two matches. Mancini said last week he hoped both would be back in contention for this Saturday’s trip to Everton. Rodwell pulled up with the latest in a long line of hamstring problems in the first half of last week’s Barclays Premier League win at Aston Villa. The 22-year-old had been making just his second start since returning from a three-month lay-off in January. Rodwell told the club’s website, www.mcfc.co.uk: “Obviously you don’t want to tempt fate but I’m not looking at this as a lengthy absence and I hope to be back in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can play my part in the run-in and help us win some silverware and end what has been a frustrating season on a high.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Three things we learned from Spurs 2 Barca 4

first_imgPhilippe Coutinho put the visitors ahead inside two minutes before Ivan Rakitic’s spectacular volley doubled Barca’s lead before half-time.Harry Kane and Erik Lamela twice reduced Spurs’ deficit, but Messi made the difference by scoring a double as the La Liga champions withstood a rousing finale from the hosts.Messi means Champions League businessThe Catalans’ domination of domestic matters in La Liga in recent years has been overshadowed by eternal rivals Real Madrid’s romp to three consecutive Champions League titles.Barca set their stall out to end Real’s European reign before a ball was even kicked this season with Messi in his first statement as new club captain after the exit of Andres Iniesta promising to “bring this beautiful cup back home to the Camp Nou”.On the site of two of Barca’s greatest ever triumphs where they won the European Cup in 1992 and 2011, Ernesto Valverde’s men dispelled any doubts caused by a three-game winless run in La Liga.Draws with Girona and Athletic Bilbao either side of a shock defeat by Leganes were partly caused by Valverde prioritising the Champions League with Messi left on the bench at the weekend.Back in the side, the five-time World Player of the Year ran the show, also hit the post twice as his two goals and brilliant first-half finishes by Coutinho and Rakitic earned all three points for the visitors.Messi now has five goals in just two Champions League games this season.Spurs squad exposedTottenham are already paying for the club’s failure to add a single player in the transfer market to a squad burned out by World Cup commitments.From the side that famously beat Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley just under a year ago; Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli were all absent through injury.Beating Barca at full-strength is hard enough, but Spurs simply don’t have the squad depth to compete with the best when so many of their key men are missing.That lack of investment threatens to stall Spurs’ progress under Mauricio Pochettino as having reached the last 16 last season, an early Champions League beckons unless there is a big turnaround after starting with two defeats.Oh no HugoTottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a huge error to help Barcelona go in front at Wembley© AFP Adrian DENNISThe one injury boost for Spurs appeared to be the return of captain Hugo Lloris in goal for the first time in five weeks.Lloris has endured a troubled time after admitting to drink driving during his absence with a thigh injury.Another poor decision from the French World Cup winner gave his side a mountain to climb as he raced from his goal and got caught in no man’s land when Jordi Alba teed up Coutinho for the opener.Messi could have profited from another erratic Lloris moment, as the goalkeeper ran outside his box just as Spurs got back into the game at 3-2, before the Argentine’s second goal settled matters late on.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lionel Messi was inspirational as Barcelona won a thrilling Champions League clash 3-2 over Tottenham Hotspur© AFP Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Oct 4 – Lionel Messi inspired a return to form for Barcelona in a thrilling 4-2 win at Tottenham that leaves the English side with a mountain to climb to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.Spurs have now lost their opening two games in Group B to fall six points behind Barca and Inter Milan and were left to rue a slow start.last_img read more

Man United set to seal deals for French and Belgium internationals? Transfer latest

first_imgManchester United mean business this summer, according to Robin van Persie.The Red Devils spent over £200 million in an attempt to force their way back into the top four last year and the striker expects Louis van Gaal to spend a similar amount over the coming months.Old Trafford won’t be content with a mere return to the Champions League; fans will expect a challenge both domestically and on the content next term.Significant strengthening will need to take place if United are to compete with the very best consistently and talkSPORT has assessed the latest batch of transfer rumours concerning the club.Click the yellow arrow above, right, to discover the latest Man United transfer news. Morgan Schneiderlin – Has the path been cleared for the Frenchman to join the Red Devils? Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see more Man United transfer rumours – The Southampton midfielder is one of the most sought after players in the Premier League and has attracted interest from a host of sides. However, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is believed to have ended his interest in the Saints star, report the Express, which could now open the door to a switch to Man United. 5 5 5 Radja Nainggolan – The Belgian midfielder has been in form for Roma, but the Italian outfit are willing to let him go, according to reports. Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see more Man United transfer rumours – Kevin Strootman has long been heralded as the Roma player that Louis van Gaal is keen to sign, but it is now Nainggolan that is firmly on the Dutch tactician’s radar. Although the midfielder was a key figure within the Serie A outfit’s side last term the Metro has reported that a fee of £10.9 million could be enough to convince the Belgian to move to the Premier League. Dani Alves – The Barcelona full back appeared to bid farewell to the Spanish giants on Saturday night and Louis van Gaal is still in the hunt for his signature. Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see more Man United transfer rumours – The Brazilian defender has enjoyed a memorable week following the Catalans’ Champions League victory, but his future remains uncertain. He is yet to agree to a contract extension at the Camp Nou and the club seem to found his replacement in the form of Aleix Vidal. Meanwhile, Although Alves has spoken glowingly of AC Milan of late, United are still keen on the 32-year-old, according to the Daily Star. Hugo Lloris – The France international has admitted that he is monitoring the situation of Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea. Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see more Man United transfer rumours – The Tottenham Hotspur shot stopper told the Sun that he is keeping an eye on De Gea’s circumstances at Old Trafford, which appears to hint that he is interested in replacing the Spaniard, should a move to Real Madrid take place. However, given that the 28-year-old is under contract until 2019, the north London outfit will be desperate to cling onto one of their prize assets. 5 5 Javier Hernandez – The Mexican’s career at Old Trafford is coming to an end but former Man United boss David Moyes is keen on a shock reunion with the striker. Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see more Man United transfer rumours – The 27-year-old forward was once a trusted member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad, but struggled for game time once the Scotsman retired. His loan spell with Real Madrid will not be made permanent and Louis van Gaal is unlikely to afford him a place in United’s squad. So, with the striker set to be on the hunt for a new club, Real Sociedad will offer Chicharito an opportunity to revive his career, according to the Daily Mirror.last_img read more

I can’t promise anything! Arsene Wenger on Arsenal signings

first_img Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger insists he is still working hard to bring in new signings  – but is NOT close to completing a deal for any player.Arsenal have struggled for goals at the start of this season, scoring just twice in their opening three Premier League games, and Gunners fans are desperately hoping to see a top-class striker added to the squad.Edinson Cavani has been linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks with long-term target Karim Benzema off the market.But while Wenger has assured fans he is on the lookout for quality reinforcements, the Frenchman says there is nothing currently in the pipeline.“I am always confident that a last-minute situation or solution is available, because the transfer market is especially moving in the last four or five days. But at the moment I cannot promise you that,” said Wenger.“We work very hard, you know I have a team around me who work day and night to find good solutions but at the moment we are not close to signing anyone.” 1last_img read more