1) Griddy Energy, the Texas power retailer, filed for bankruptcy, becoming the latest casualty of the cold weather blast and sweeping blackouts that pushed electricity prices to historic highs. The company, after its customers received exorbitant power bills, blamed its downfall on Texas’s grid operator Ercot who is blamed for destroying Griddy’s business. Griddy is at least the third to file for bankruptcy. Ercot owes more than $29 million dollars, making the grid operator Texas’ largest unsecured creditor. Texas is unusual in the U.S. in that homeowners and businesses can choose from a number of power providers. Griddy charges wholesale prices instead of fixed ones, and knowing that rate structure would mean massive bills for its customers as power prices climbed, the company made the unusual move of pleading with customers to switch to another provider in mid-February, but some customers who didn’t switch in time were stuck with bills for thousands of dollars.
2) The world’s three biggest consumers of coal, the most dirty of the fossil fuels, are getting ready to boost usage so much that it’ll almost be as if the pandemic-induced drop in emissions never happened. The U.S. power plants will consume 16% more coal this year, and then an additional 3% in 2022. China and India, which together account for almost two-thirds of coal demand, have no plans to cut back in the near term. This means higher emissions, and in the U.S., the gains may undermine President Biden’s push to reestablish America as an environmental leader and raise pressure for him to quickly implement his climate agenda. Coal consumption at U.S. power plants is almost returning to 2019 levels. While in recent years, China has reduced the share of coal in their energy mix, total power consumption has risen, so its usage has also climbed. China has the world’s largest number of coal-fired power plants, so it’ll be tough to shift to alternatives. India is also a very long way from a clean grid, with coal continuing to account for around 70% of its electrical generation. Consumption at their power plants will rise 10% this year, and is set to increase every year through at least 2027.
3) Although little known to most people, sand is another natural resource becoming scarce. So China has launched a crackdown on illegal sand mining operations on the Yangtze river, which have made large parts of central China more vulnerable to drought. Sand mining in the river and its connecting lakes and tributaries has also affected shipping routes and made it harder for authorities to control summer floods.
4) Stock market closings for – 17 MAR 21:
Dow 33,015.37 up by 189.42 Nasdaq 13,525.20 up by 53.64 S&P 500 3,974.12 up by 11.41
1) Demand for natural gas is currently at an unprecedented level according to Atmos Energy, because of freezing rain, snow, ice and dangerous travel conditions. Atmos Energy is asking all of its customers and businesses to conserve as much energy as possible. The Dallas-based natural-gas-only company is one of the nation’s largest distributors, serving about three million customers in more than 1,400 communities in nine states. This request comes after a new Winter Storm Warning was issued for all of North Texas while millions in the state remain without power. Atmos Energy has offered their customers a number of suggestions on how they can limit their energy usage.
2) Texas produces more energy than any other state, yet in the midst of the arctic freeze gripping the central U.S., Texas is faced with insufficient energy for its citizens. The arctic freeze gripping the central U.S. is raising the specter of power outages in Texas. The deep freeze this week in the Lone Star state, is causing power demand to skyrocket. The people of Texas relies on electricity to heat many homes, while at the same time, natural gas, coal, wind and nuclear facilities in Texas have been knocked offline by the unthinkably low temperatures. This situation could have wide-reaching implications as the US power industry attempts to slash carbon emissions in response to the climate crisis and move away from fossil fuels. Texas has been hit with life-threatening blackouts. More than 4 million people in the state were without power early Tuesday. Authorities defended the controlled outages, called rolling blackouts, which kept the grid from collapsing. The situation raises the question that if a state like Texas is now having trouble meeting its energy requirements, then how will the other states fare as America moves to a green energy environment.
3) Motorola Solutions has consolidated its video security and AI video analytics production into a newly renovated manufacturing facility in Richardson Texas, with plans to expand staffing in the coming year. The new facility opened in January housing 250 employees, with plans to expand by at least another 50 this year. Motorola acquired the camera and analytics company Avigilon, for a reported $1 billion in February 2018 and the Fort Worth based license plate recognition camera and software maker Vigilant Solutions in January for $445 million. In March 2019, it bought voice-over IP dispatch console maker Avtec, then Watchguard, which designs and sells in-car video systems and police body cameras to law enforcement agencies. Two additional California-based companies Pelco and Scotland-based IndigoVision were also added to Motorola’s growing security abilities.
4) Stock market closings for – 17 FEB 21:
Dow 31,613.02 up by 90.27 Nasdaq 13,965.50 down by 82.00 S&P 500 3,931.33 down by 1.26
1) There is a move in congress, lead by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, urging President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 per person in federal student debt. Supporters of the move consider the student debt crisis as a racial and economic justice issue encompasses the kind of bold, high-impact policy that the broad and diverse coalition, which elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are expecting them to deliver. The mounting student debt problem has 45 million Americans owing a total of about $1.6 trillion dollars in student loans, with one in 10 loans in delinquency or default. The typical monthly payment is between $200 and $299, with minorities experiencing the most difficulties with student debt.
2) A massive heavy snow storm continues to cross the Northeast as the season’s first major winter storm slowly moves off the East Coast, leaving as much as 4 feet of snow. There has been hundreds of vehicle crashes with some of them being deadly. The storm has left more than 50,000 customers without electricity mainly in Virginia and New York state. The interior of Pennsylvania and New York state took the brunt of the storm, the storm setting a new two-day snowfall record in Binghamton. The previous record was recorded March 2017 with 35.3 inches of snow. Airlines have canceled more than 600 flights because of the snow.
3) President Trump has issued an executive order prohibiting Americans from investing in companies tied to China’s military complex. U.S. investors are bared from buying into 35 Chinese companies the Pentagon has classified as aiding China’s defense, intelligence and security apparatus. The executive order has sparked sell offs of Chinese stocks and bonds, forced index firms to drop companies from marquee benchmarks, and pushed Wall Street to reassess risks from investing in China. There are questions at the state department whether the blacklist should include subsidiaries of the companies, or if affiliates should be included. Asset managers are now reaching out to the Biden transition team to glean how the new administration will interpret the executive order. Starting on January 11, U.S. investors are barred from the purchase or investment in stocks, with investors having until November 2021 to get rid of their Chinese securities.
4) Stock market closings for – 18 DEC 20:
Dow 30,179.05 down by 124.32 Nasdaq 12,755.64 down by 9.11 S&P 500 3,709.41 down by 13.07
1) There are predictions of a relentless heat wave to blanket the U.S. for the next several weeks. This heat wave is just starting in the South, but is expected to move north and east with 100 degree plus temperatures across Ohio Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic areas. The National Weather Service forecast record high temperatures from Friday to Tuesday with as much as 75 record highs broken. But the question isn’t how high the temperatures will get, but for how long? It is expected temperatures during the multiple week span will have only a few days of normal temperatures. These high temperatures are caused by heat domes, sprawling areas of high pressure bringing hot and dry conditions for days. Such phenomena have economic impacts such as high electricity consumption.
2) Walmart is reportedly close to launching Walmart+ in July, a membership program that closely resembles Amazon Prime. The service cost $98 per year and includes same-day delivery, fuel discounts and other perks. Originally to open this last spring, it was delayed because of the pandemic. Walmart has nearly 3,300 store pickup locations and more than 1,850 stores offer same day grocery delivery.
3) The Supreme Court ruled that the eastern half of Oklahoma can be considered Native American territory. The case originated from a conviction of Jimcy McGirt, a Native American, who claims his state conviction in 1997 for rape, should be overturned because Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction, that the Indian reservation had not been properly terminated by the Congress. This would mean the federal government would have jurisdiction, so McGirt would be subject to federal criminal laws instead of Oklahoma. The ruling effects half of Oklahoma and 1.8 million residents. Oklahoma fears the decision will create civil, criminal and regulatory turmoil.
4) Stock market closings for – 9 JUL 20:
Dow 25,706.09 down 361.19 Nasdaq 10,547.75 up 55.25 S&P 500 3,152.05 down 17.89
1) The airline industry is one of the hardest hit segments of the economy from the pandemic, with an estimated 36% drop in traffic this year. But the International Air Transport Association is warning that it could worsen with a 53% drop if boarder curbs on emerging market countries and the U.S. remain in place. The U.S. – EU (European Union) air travel market generates $29 billion dollars a year is threaten by the ban on non essential flights from the U.S. as the EU attempts to avoid an resurgence of the virus. Air travel was down over 90% for April and May, with little prospects for improvement in the near future, leaving the future of air carriers in doubt too.
2) The maker of electric automobiles Tesla has become the world’s most valuable automaker, surpassing Toyota’s for the first time on record. Tesla’s valuation is roughly $206.5 billion dollars compared with Toyota’s valuation of about $202 billion dollars. This underscores the vast investor enthusiasm for the automaker, which has yet to turn a profit on an annual basis. While it’s valuation exceeds Toyota, its car production of 103,000 cars lags far behind Toyota’s production of 2.4 million vehicles. The valuation comes from the stock in the company, with investors piling money in since there aren’t any other electric vehicles investments available, with Tesla stock soaring to $1,135 per share.
3) Electricity bills are set to surge this summer because of millions of Americans sheltering in place. This added demand will mean higher electricity costs for months to come. This will mean an additional $30 to $40 per month on electric bills in cities like New York and Philadelphia. Increases are anticipated to be highest for the northeast area of the country, decreasing when going westward. This comes when people’s finances are already stretched tight because of the coronavirus crisis.
4) Stock market closings for – 1 JUL 20:
Dow 25,734.97 down 77.91 Nasdaq 10,154.63 up 95.86 S&P 500 3,115.86 up 15.57
1) Debt relief services for student loan burden is the newest wave of scams. With student debt soaring to nearly $1.5 trillion dollars and with defaults at a record high, over burdened students are looking for relief. Companies promise to help students through the maze of government programs to reduce or forgive loans, but they offer nothing that individuals can’t do on their own. One company’s fee is $1,195 for document preparation, then $40 per month for almost 20 years for a total of $10,555.
2) The consequences of switching to renewable energy is causing prices for electricity to soar, sometimes as much as 40,000%. With Texas in the grips of a massive heat wave, the price of electricity went from $15 to as much as $9,000 a magawatt-hour. The same problem is occurring worldwide in countries like Germany and England, with not only spikes in cost, but threats of power grid collapse.
3) The English ship Maxlimer is set to start a new revolution in robotics, by being the first crewless robot ship to cross the Atlantic. It’s a proof of concept ship, 36 foot long, created by SEA-KIT that some day may spawn crewless cargo and oil tanker ships plying their way across the earth’s oceans. The goal is to produce shipping that is cheaper and safer than manned ships are. The historic crossing of the Atlantic is scheduled for the first half of 2020.
4) Stock market closings for – 26 AUG 19:
Dow 25,898.83 up 269.93 Nasdaq 7,853.74 up 101.97 S&P 500 2,878.38 up 31.27
The Dominican Electricity Industry Association (ADIE) has specified to the Dominican Republic that it is owed $800 million dollars for power supply usage at national electrical plants and facilities. The association has indicated that the government owes power supply producers the vast of the $800 million due. They have threatened to cut of power and electricity on the island if the money is not soon to be repaid.
Govt analyst believe a sure blackout could occur, and would put a halt on the activities and largely effect the economy in DR. The government in DR has not paid the power suppliers for more then eight months, and the association does not want to extend anymore credit or “produce anymore lifelines for the country”, until they are fully paid.
So far government officials have not come with any solution on how to finance nor start repaying the power suppliers. -SB