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TALKING POINTS

New program will promote clean-energy generation during peak periods

TECHNOLOGY

New program will promote clean-energy generation during peak periods

The Baker administration is launching a new program aimed at promoting the use of clean-energy generation and storage during times of peak electricity demand. State officials say the Clean Peak Energy Standard program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because fewer fossil-fuel powered plants will be called on to generate power during peak periods. The program, authorized by 2018 legislation, is similar to the state’s existing renewable portfolio standard by requiring electricity suppliers to buy a certain amount of “Clean Peak Energy Certificates” each year. But this program would reward power plants specifically for being able to generate or dispatch power at specific peak times of the day, and it also allows some waste-to-energy incinerators and hydroelectric plants to qualify if they add new capacity, in addition to traditional renewable sources such as wind and solar. State officials expect that the program will cost the typical household roughly an extra 80 cents per month in the first few years, but eventually could save them money over the course of a decade. — JON CHESTO

MEDIA

New owner of business magazine

Entrepreneur Dale Shadbegian has acquired the Cape & Plymouth Business monthly magazine from Robert J. Viamari for an unspecified amount. Shadbegian has kept the magazine’s team of 12 staffers and freelancers, led by publisher Laurel Hartman and editor Carol Dumas. Shadbegian said his focus will be further expanding the magazine’s online resources and marketing services. — JON CHESTO

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HEALTH INSURANCE

Blue Cross to return $101 million to Mass. customers

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts said Wednesday it would return $101 million to individual and group customers because the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in lower-than-expected spending on health care. The Boston-based health insurer said the refunds and rebates come on top of more $116 million in previous coronavirus-related financial commitments, including the cost of waiving all member co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and treatment. “Since many elective procedures and routine visits have been deferred during the pandemic, our medical costs during the second quarter were lower than we originally anticipated,” said Andrew Dreyfus, CEO of Blue Cross. The company said credits would be applied in September and total 15 percent of May 2020 medical premiums. Before the end of the year, Medicare Advantage members will receive a one month “premium holiday” during which they will not be charged their monthly premium. Blue Cross Blue Shield reported revenue of $2.1 billion in the first quarter, the latest period for which financial results are available. — LARRY EDELMAN

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PANDEMIC

Johnson & Johnson latest to reach deal with US government to supply vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said it has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to the United States, the latest in a string of such pacts between the government and pharmaceutical companies. The drugmaker said in a statement on Wednesday that it had entered into an agreement with the US government for the large scale domestic manufacturing and delivery in the United States of 100 million doses of its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit’s SARS-CoV-2 investigational vaccine. The US government has forged a series of deals with companies such as Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. to secure access to the vaccines the companies are developing for the coronavirus. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

SCIENCE

$1.5 million raised to save Space Camp

A fund-raising drive has reached its goal of bringing in $1.5 million to save Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., from closing because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said. A corporate donation of $250,000 by the technology company SAIC Inc. pushed the effort over the top, officials said in a statement Tuesday. Nearly 8,000 people and companies from three dozen countries contributed to the “Save Space Camp” drive in the week it took to reach the goal, and donations will continue to be accepted. Nearly 1 million youths and adults have attended Space Camp since it opened in 1982, and a dozen people who went on to become astronauts or cosmonauts participated. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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GENEALOGY

Blackstone buys 75 percent stake in Ancestry.com

Blackstone Group Inc. is betting on your family tree. The alternative asset manager is set to buy about 75 percent of Ancestry.com, the business known for family history research and DNA testing, in a deal valued at $4.7 billion including debt, according to people familiar with the transaction. Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC, which took a stake in 2016, will hold about 25 percent, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It will be the first acquisition by Blackstone’s largest ever private equity fund. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MEDIA

For first time, NYT digital revenue exceeds print

Over a three-month period dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and a slowdown in advertising, The New York Times Co. for the first time reported quarterly revenue that owed more to digital products than to the print newspaper. As much of its staff worked remotely, The Times brought in $185.5 million in revenue for digital subscriptions and ads during the second quarter of 2020, the company announced on Wednesday. The number for print revenue was $175.4 million. The company added 669,000 net new digital subscribers, making the second quarter its biggest ever for subscription growth. The Times has 6.5 million total subscriptions, a figure that includes 5.7 million digital-only subscriptions, putting it on a course to achieve its stated goal of 10 million subscriptions by 2025. — NEW YORK TIMES

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SMARTPHONES

Samsung unveils pricey new models

Samsung aims to lift its sinking smartphone sales with three new models that will test consumer willingness to buy high-priced gadgets during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The latest Galaxy phones, unveiled Wednesday during an online showcase, will cost $1,000 to $1,300. Such prices are have become standard for top-of-the-line phones in recent years. But they might cause sticker shock at a time of double-digit unemployment that could last through at least the end of the year, as the global economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Samsung is touting the fancy phones, called the Galaxy Note20 and the Note20 Ultra, at a time that Apple is enjoying success with a $399 iPhone released in April. Google is also rolling out a $349 Pixel phone that has many of the same features as its more expensive model. — ASSOCIATED PRESS