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Eversource exploring sale of offshore wind venture

Article Republished By Javier Troconis

ENERGY

Eversource exploring sale of offshore wind venture

Eversource Energy is eyeing a possible sale of its stake in an offshore wind joint venture with Orsted, the Danish energy company. Eversource’s board of trustees on Wednesday approved the decision to hire Goldman Sachs and Ropes & Gray to conduct a “strategic review” of its offshore wind business, which the Boston-based utility launched five years ago. CEO Joe Nolan said the company is assessing alternatives for this joint-venture stake in part because of the record-setting prices obtained in the recent federal lease auctions for offshore wind areas southeast of New York City. Eversource said proceeds from any sale would likely be used to support modernizing and decarbonizing its electricity and gas distribution businesses. The joint venture with Orsted consists of three projects so far: South Fork Wind, a capacity of 130 megawatts, going up 35 miles east of Long Island’s Montauk Point by the end of 2023; Revolution Wind, 704 megawatts in capacity, to be built 15 miles south of Rhode Island by sometime in 2025; and the 924-megawatt Sunrise Wind, which will go up 30 miles east of Montauk Point by the end of 2025. (With offshore wind farms, 100 megawatts of capacity is typically enough energy for roughly 50,000 homes.) — JON CHESTO

HIGHER EDUCATION

Cornell professor new dean of BC law school

Boston College on Thursday announced that it has recruited Cornell University law professor Odette Lienau to be the new dean of BC’s law school in Newton. Lienau will start in January 2023, and will take over for Vincent Rougeau, who left to become president at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester last year. Lienau is an expert on sovereign debt issues, with a focus on developing countries, and has served as a consultant to the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. She is married to Cornell law professor Aziz Rana, who will also join the BC faculty. BC Law serves 800 students and has about 70 full-time faculty members. — JON CHESTO

PHONE SERVICE

Verizon may also hike prices for wireless service

Verizon is considering raising prices for wireless service — one of several possible options to pass along inflation-related costs to consumers following AT&T’s decision this week to increase rates on older calling plans by $6 or more. An increase like AT&T’s isn’t likely for Verizon, but alternatives such as the introduction of a higher-priced unlimited plan or added fees are among the possibilities, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s deliberations. Either way, if costs keep rising, Verizon customers will see higher monthly bills. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Gucci stores to accept crypto beginning later this month

Gucci will accept payments in cryptocurrencies in the United States starting this month, as the luxury industry takes tentative steps into the digital-asset universe. Customers in some stores in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Las Vegas will be able to pay using digital tokens beginning at the end of May, the Italian fashion house said in a statement. It will adopt this payment option throughout its North American stores this summer. Gucci will initially accept 10 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Dogecoin, and Shiba Inu. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AGRICULTURE

Wheat prices rise on weather problems

Wheat headed for the first back-to-back advance in three weeks on weather concerns across global growers and as India considers restricting exports. Extreme heat has hurt the harvest in India, where shipments have been booming in the wake of the war in Ukraine. That’s spurring the country to mull export restrictions. In addition, soggy fields have delayed North American spring-wheat plantings, while drought has hampered winter-wheat conditions further south. In Europe, some wheat areas are also shy of rain. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ENERGY

Shell earnings soar on higher oil prices

Energy giant Shell reported record first-quarter earnings after a surge in oil prices, fueling calls for the British government to impose a tax on energy companies’ windfall earnings to help consumers struggling with the soaring cost of living. London-based Shell said adjusted earnings — which exclude one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories — rose to $9.1 billion from $3.2 billion in the same period last year. That beat analyst expectations of $8.2 billion. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AIRLINES

Biggest European airlines predict a busy summer

Europe’s biggest airlines are growing increasingly confident that the easing of coronavirus restrictions will kick off a summer boom as a surge in bookings spurs them to lift capacity. Deutsche Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are less certain about prospects going deeper into the year, with the German company saying Thursday that fuel prices are tough to predict and that it’s not clear how far increasing household costs will weigh on demand. Both carriers reported a strong start to 2022 after the impact from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 quickly faded. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ECONOMY

Productivity down in the first quarter

US productivity dropped in the first quarter by the most since 1947 as the economy shrank. Labor costs surged amid an extremely tight job market. Productivity, or nonfarm business employee output per hour, decreased at a 7.5 percent annual rate from the previous three months, according to Labor Department figures Thursday. That compared to a 6.3 percent gain in the fourth quarter and the 5.3 percent projected decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INFLATION

Higher prices for beer and BMWs don’t deter buyers

Consumers seem undaunted by higher prices of everything from luxury cars to beer, letting companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev and BMW boost profits despite economic threats ranging from inflation to war to China’s COVID flare-up. AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, on Thursday reported profit growth that was almost twice as much as analysts expected. And BMW’s first-quarter earnings rose 12 percent on strong demand for luxury cars. Revenue at Stellantis, formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot, jumped on strong demand for new high-end models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

Bank of England raises key interest rate

The Bank of England raised its key interest rate to the highest level in 13 years on Thursday as policymakers around the world combat inflation fueled by high energy prices, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and lingering concerns about COVID-19. The central bank hiked rates for the fourth time since December as UK inflation runs at 30-year highs. Its Monetary Policy Committee voted 6-3 to lift the rate that the Bank of England pays other banks by a quarter-percentage point, to 1 percent. The three members in the minority wanted to raise it even higher — by half a point to 1.25 percent, the bank said, in a sign of growing momentum for strong action to counter rising consumer prices. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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