We're officially through the looking glass at this point. It seems like every day brings a new story tracking the rise of all things green and clean. It's gotten to the point where I don't even read them all the way through any more. However, this article blew me away. You may recall that TXU started a furball last November when it announced that it would be pursuing 11 new coal plants to meet forecast demand. In addition to the usual environmental protests, TXU's announcement precipitated shareholder protests, objections from pension fund investors, questions from lenders about the impact of carbon regulation on operating costs, and even the ire of the Benedictine Sisterhood. Well, now it seems the private equity folks over at KKR and TPG are riding to the rescue, proposing to buy out TXU and deliver a pre-brokered solution to its environmental problems--which includes cancelling 8 of the 11 coal plants!
Honestly, if you had a time machine and transported yourself back just 5 years, you would not be able to convince a single soul that this could happen. I don't know what's stranger, a utility losing a major battle over carbon emissions, or private equity firms brokering a peace plan? It's yet another sign that the magnitude and speed of the changes that are going on in energy are just enormous. What's next?
PS: A followup story in the NYTimes today has a "behind the scenes" summary that's a very entertaining read.