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The Wall Street Journal looks today at Sempra Energy’s timely investment in natural gas infrastructure, which has become a more alluring energy source as the nation’s appetite for coal-fired power has diminished because of climate change concerns.

The Journal says:

Sempra has been pouring money into natural-gas infrastructure. The big San Diego energy company is spending $2 billion on construction of the first liquefied-natural-gas receipt terminal on the West Coast and another in Louisiana. It has budgeted $1.2 billion for a 25% stake in a new gas pipeline — the Rockies Express — stretching from Colorado to Ohio, and $200 million for more gas storage in Louisiana.

“Sempra’s been investing in all the right areas,” says Faisal Khan, utilities analyst for Citigroup in New York.

It’s a far cry from 2005 and 2006, when coal was the hot energy source and power companies announced plans to build more than 24,000 megawatts of coal-fired power plants versus about 10,000 megawatts of gas generation, according to the Energy Information Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

But rising worries about future restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions and rising construction and fuel costs have turned the tables. Last year, utilities canceled plans for 13,880 megawatts of coal plants because of such concerns.

ROB DAVIS

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