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Largest US Grid Supplier Warns Of An Energy Shortage Due To Undeliverable Mandates

Largest US Grid Supplier Warns Of An Energy Shortage Due To Undeliverable Mandates

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

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Largest US Grid Supplier Warns Of An Energy Shortage Due To Undeliverable Mandates

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Let's discuss the warnings of PJM Interconnect, the operator of the nation's largest competitive market for electricity.

Before reviewing the PJM Interconnect February 2023 report, let's take a look at policies and regulations.

Policies and Regulations

  • EPA Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated national minimum criteria for existing and new coal combustion residuals (CCR) landfills and existing and new CCR surface impoundments. This led to a number of facilities, approximately 2,700 MW in capacity, indicating their intent to comply with the rule by ceasing coal-firing operations, which is reflected in this study.

  • EPA Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG): The EPA updated these guidelines in 2020, which triggered the announcement by Keystone and Conemaugh facilities (about 3,400 MW) to retire their coal units by the end of 2028. 14 Importantly, but not included in this study, the EPA is planning to propose a rule to strengthen and possibly broaden the guidelines applicable to waste (in particular water) discharges from steam electric generating units. The EPA is expecting this to impact coal units by potentially requiring investments when plants renew their discharge permits, and extending the time that plants can operate if they agree to a retirement date.

  • EPA Good Neighbor Rule (GNR): This proposal requires units in certain states to meet stringent limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which, for certain units, will require investment in selective catalytic reduction to reduce NOx. For purposes of this study, it is assumed that unit owners will not make that investment and will retire approximately 4,400 MW of units instead. Please note that the EPA plans on finalizing the GNR in March, which may necessitate reevaluation of this assumption.

  • Illinois Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA): CEJA mandates the scheduled phase-out of coal and natural gas generation by specified target dates: January 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. To understand CEJA criteria impacts and establish the timing of affected generation units’ expected deactivation, PJM analyzed each generating unit’s publicly available emissions data, published heat rate, and proximity to Illinois environmental justice communities and Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) zones. For this study, PJM focuses on the approximately 5,800 MW expected to retire in 2030. 

Solar Projects On Hold

Next, consider the Inside Climate News report The Largest U.S. Grid Operator Puts 1,200 Mostly Solar Projects on Hold for Two Years

The nation’s largest electrical grid operator has approved a new process for adding power plants to the sprawling transmission system it manages, including a two-year pause on reviewing and potentially approving some 1,200 projects, mostly solar power, that are part of a controversial backlog.

Over the last four years, PJM officials have said they have experienced a fundamental shift in the number and type of energy projects seeking to be added to a grid, each needing careful study to ensure reliability. It used to be that PJM would see fewer, but larger, fossil fuel proposals. Now, they are seeing a larger number of smaller, largely renewable energy projects.

A new approval process will put projects that are the readiest for construction at the front of the line, and discourage those that might be more speculative or that have not secured all their financing.

Then, an interim period will put a two-year delay on about 1,250 projects in their queue—close to half of the total—and defer the review of new projects until the fourth quarter of 2025, with final decisions on those coming as late as the end of 2027

Energy Transition in PJM

Now let's now take a look at Energy Transition in PJM: Resource Retirements, Replacements & Risks released February 24, 2023.

Our research highlights four trends below that we believe, in combination, present increasing reliability risks during the transition, due to a potential timing mismatch between resource retirements, load growth and the pace of new generation entry under a possible “low new entry” scenario:

The growth rate of electricity demand is likely to continue to increase from electrification coupled with the proliferation of high-demand data centers in the region. Retirements are at risk of outpacing the construction of new resources, due to a combination of industry forces, including siting and supply chain, whose long-term impacts are not fully known. PJM’s interconnection queue is composed primarily of intermittent and limited-duration resources. Given the operating characteristics of these resources, we need multiple megawatts of these resources to replace 1 MW of thermal generation. 

The analysis shows that 40 GW of existing generation are at risk of retirement by 2030. This figure is composed of: 6 GW of 2022 deactivations, 6 GW of announced retirements, 25 GW of potential policy-driven retirements and 3 GW of potential economic retirements. Combined, this represents 21% of PJM’s current installed capacity.

In addition to the retirements, PJM’s long-term load forecast shows demand growth of 1.4% per year for the PJM footprint over the next 10 years. Due to the expansion of highly concentrated clusters of data centers, combined with overall electrification, certain individual zones exhibit more significant demand growth – as high as 7% annually.

For the first time in recent history, PJM could face decreasing reserve margins should these trends continue. The amount of generation retirements appears to be more certain than the timely arrival of replacement generation resources and demand response, given that the quantity of retirements is codified in various policy objectives, while the impacts to the pace of new entry of the Inflation Reduction Act, post-pandemic supply chain issues, and other externalities are still not fully understood. 

Recent movement in the natural gas spot markets across the U.S. and Europe add another degree of uncertainty to future operations. In 2022, European natural gas supply faced many challenges resulting from the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports into the EU and the U.K. in the first half of 2022 increased 66% over the 2021 annual average, primarily from U.S. exporters with operational flexibility. This international natural gas demand is a new competitor for domestic spot-market consumers, resulting in significantly higher fuel costs for PJM’s natural gas fleet

Along with the energy transition, PJM is witnessing a large growth in data center activity. Importantly, the PJM footprint is home to Data Center Alley in Loudoun County, Virginia, the largest concentration of data centers in the world. PJM uses the Load Analysis Subcommittee (LAS) to perform technical analysis to coordinate information related to the forecast of electrical peak demand. In 2022, the LAS began a review of data center load growth and identified growth rates over 300% in some instances. 

Additionally, PJM is expecting an increase in electrification resulting from state and federal policies and regulations. The study therefore incorporates an electrification scenario in the load forecast to provide insight on capacity need should accelerated electrification drive demand increases.

Impacts of Electrification and Data Center Loads

What Does This Mean for Resource Adequacy in PJM?

Combining the resource exit, entry and increases in demand, summarized in Figure 7, the study identified some areas of concern. Approximately 40 GW PJM’s fossil fuel fleet resources may be pressured to retire as load grows into the 2026/2027 Delivery Year. 

The projected total capacity from generating resources would not meet projected peak loads, thus requiring the deployment of demand response. By the 2028/2029 Delivery Year and beyond, at Low New Entry scenario levels, projected reserve margins would be 8%, as projected demand response may be insufficient to cover peak demand expectations, unless new entry progresses at a levels exhibited in the High New Entry scenario. This will require the ability to maintain needed existing resources, as well as quickly incentivize and integrate new entry 

 

The 2024/2025 BRA, which executed in December 2022, highlighted another area of uncertainty. Queue capacity with approved ISAs/WMPAs is currently very high, approximately 35 GW-nameplate, but resources are not progressing into construction.

There has only been about 10 GW-nameplate moving to in service in the past three years. There may still be risks to new entry, such as semiconductor supply chain disruptions or pipeline supply restrictions, which are preventing construction despite resources successfully navigating the queue process. 

 

About that Queue

After applying the logistical regression model for 10 years of historical project completion (Y-queue to present) without project stage, approximately 15.3 GW-nameplate/8.7 GW-capacity were deemed commercially probable out of 178 GW of projects examined

The model results for thermal resources were reasonably in line with expectations. However, the model produced extremely low entry from onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, solar-hybrid and storage resources.  

Mish Synopsis 

  • Expect to pay much higher prices for electricity 

  • Expect brownouts

  • Expect missed targets 

  • Expect most of the thousands of project requests on hold to be economically unviable.

  • Expect many economically unviable projects to continue anyway paid for by taxpayer subsidies.

  • Expect much higher inflation. 

  • Don't expect any of this to do a damn thing for the environment.

Question of the Day - How Fast Will the Shift to EVs happen?

In case you missed it, please consider Question of the Day - How Fast Will the Shift to EVs happen?

The faster the shift, the higher and faster the inflation.

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Tyler Durden Wed, 03/01/2023 - 11:45

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

More Travel:

With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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