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POLITICO New York Energy: New York, California regulators working together; Bloomberg chides elected officials

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA REGULATORS WORK TOGETHER ON SOLAR — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: State utility regulators in New York and California are quietly working on a deal to encourage the growth of distributed energy resources like solar and wind, but details are relatively sparse. Distributed energy resources are smaller energy resources — like rooftop solar panels, wind turbines and even battery storage — that can cut demand on the overall energy grid. The current energy grid is only about 54 percent efficient, and distributed energy resources can help lessen the overall drain on it during periods of peak demand, like hot July days when a lot of air conditioners are running, thereby cutting costs for consumers.

BLOOMBERG CHIDES ELECTEDS (INCLUDING CUOMO) ON ENERGY POLICY — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday expressed little faith in the ability of state and federal elected leaders to make progress on climate change, saying business, consumers and mayors will have a much greater impact. "Greenhouse gases in the United States have gone down 20 percent in the last few years," Bloomberg said during a conference at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. "Why? Because the private sector financed the campaign, 'Beyond Coal,' ... and we've closed 200 of the 500 coal-fired power plants in this country. No thanks to the federal or state governments. No thanks to them." Bloomberg also had barbed comments for Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "The governor, for reasons beyond me, wanted to close Indian Point ... and he wanted to keep some coal-fired power plants open," Bloomberg said, referring to plants Dunkirk and Cayuga. "In America something like 13,000 Americans were dying every year from the pollutants coal-fired power plants put in the air. That's down to 6,000 by the modeling. Why? Because of the coal-fired power plants that were closed."

--State Sen. Liz Krueger and other city Dems joined the Beyond Coal campaign during a protest at City Hall calling on Cuomo to shut down the state’s four remaining coal plants.

STATE TO REQUIRE UTILITIES TO PURCHASE MORE RENEWABLES — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The Cuomo administration will require the state’s utilities to purchase more of their power from carbon-free sources within the next 15 years, according to a new proposal. The move preserves into law the state’s energy goals, which were released in June and require that, by 2030, the energy grid be powered by at least 50 percent renewables and that carbon levels be reduced by 40 percent. The plan also creates an additional value for the state’s struggling nuclear facilities, by treating them as a carbon-free bridge to a more renewable future. Utilities can use nuclear energy to supply carbon-free power as the renewable industry is developed over the next 15 years. At least two of the state’s four nuclear reactors are financially struggling and may close in the next few years. The administration plan has the potential to extend the life of both plants by more than a decade, an administration official said Monday.

WHAT NEW YORK MISSED, OR NOT, WITH FRACKING — Gannett’s Tom Wilber: “For many, the promise of fracking in Pennsylvania came true. Some landowners have received life-changing windfalls. Pennsylvania communities have benefited with an infusion of cash for housing, hospitals, roads and public safety, and cheap abundant fossil fuel is now flowing into New York markets. But hindsight in Pennsylvania shows initial economic projections and job estimates were grossly inflated, much of the wealth has left the area, industry has alienated some of its most supportive allies, economic returns remain precarious as prices fall and regulators have failed to protect the public against predatory exploitation. Ultimately, the impact of the gas rush might be judged more favorably if not measured against such inflated expectations.”


--The state’s most prominent business group is calling on the Cuomo administration to approve a gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes that has been under review for seven years.

--General Electric streetlights will have gunshot-spotting technology.

--NYSERDA lists five solar myths.

--The village of Lake George is looking to cut road salt to prevent it from going into the lake.

--The state Department of Environmental Conservation is spending $2 million to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species.

--Cuomo is showing a “callous disregard” for economics when it comes to threatening the financially-challenged FitzPatrick nuclear facility, the New York Post editorial board opines.

HAPPY TUESDAY: Is anyone there? We’ve noticed the great Thanksgiving checkout has begun. Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at and And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link:

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL REFUTES SMITH HUNT — The Hill’s Timothy Cama: “The academic journal that published a controversial study on climate change is pushing back against Republican accusations that the research’s publication was rushed. A spokeswoman for the journal Science told the Washington Post that the study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in fact underwent more scrutiny than usual to ensure that it was conducted properly. That clashes with the view of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee, who says ‘whistleblowers’ from NOAA told him the research was rushed to publication. Smith’s assertion supports his view that the study, which disproved the more than 15-year ‘pause’ in global warming claimed by climate change skeptics, was politically motivated and timed to precede President Obama’s carbon limits for power plants. ‘This paper went through as rigorous a review as it could have received,’ said Ginger Pinholster, spokeswoman American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science, told the Post Monday. ‘Any suggestion that the review was ‘rushed’ is baseless and without merit.’”

REPORT: WE WERE BRAINWASHED — The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick: “Climate change has long been a highly polarizing topic in the United States, with Americans lining up on opposite sides depending on their politics and worldview. Now a scientific study sheds new light on the role played by corporate money in creating that divide. The report, a systematic review of 20 years’ worth of data, highlights the connection between corporate funding and messages that raise doubts about the science of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the warming of the planet. The analysis suggests that corporations have used their wealth to amplify contrarian views and create an impression of greater scientific uncertainty than actually exists.”

SOLAR COMPANY AGAINST TAX CREDIT — GreenTech Media’s Stephen Lacey: “With just 13 months until the solar industry loses its federal tax incentive, the industry is trying speak with a unified voice about the need to extend the 30 percent credit for a few more years. Tens of thousands of jobs will be cut and billions of dollars in investment will be lost without the full tax credit, say advocates. But not everyone doing business in solar agrees. Sunnova, a top financier of residential PV in the U.S, is calling on Congress to let the credit die. Last week, Sunnova CEO John Berger sent a letter to top lawmakers outlining his opposition to an extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).”

NUKES NEEDED FOR CLIMATE’S FUTURE — Opinion by Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker: “Congressional Republicans make an easy target for their denial of climate change: ‘I’m not a scientist’ is the new ‘Drill, baby, drill.’ But denial also infects large swaths of the environmental movement. Environmentalists deserve enormous credit for calling the world’s attention to the threat to humanity posed by climate change. But precisely because this challenge is so stupendous, we need an uncompromisingly focused plan to solve it. Instead of offering such a solution, traditional greens have been distracted by their signature causes, and in doing so have themselves denied some inconvenient truths. The first is that, until now, fossil fuels have been good for humanity. The industrial revolution doubled life expectancy in developed countries while multiplying prosperity twentyfold. As industrialization spreads to the developing world, billions of people are rising out of poverty in their turn — affording more food, living longer and healthier lives, becoming better educated, and having fewer babies — thanks to cheap fossil fuels.”

CARBON EMISSIONS GREW — POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia: “The electricity sector increased its carbon dioxide emissions by almost 1 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to a new analysis from the Energy Information Administration. The U.S. emitted 5,406 million metric tons of CO2 last year, up 0.9 percent from 5,355 million metric tons in 2013, EIA said today. While U.S. carbon intensity decreased 0.3 percent last year due to greater use of natural gas and renewables, a 2.4 percent increase in GDP contributed to the bump in overall electricity-related CO2 emissions, the agency said. Generation grew by about 1 percent between 2005 and 2014, but emissions were down 15 percent over that period due to the shift away from coal, EIA said. Overall, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions are down about 10 percent from 2005. The biggest absolute increase in CO2 emissions from transportation. Nearly half of the growth in CO2 emissions came from transportation, which has seen growth amid falling gasoline prices and the broader economic recovery. Transportation CO2 emissions rose 1.3 percent last year.”

ZAPPING FLOWERS — The New York Times’ Sindya Banhoo: “Scientists placed plant cuttings in water that contained a water-soluble polymer called PEDOT-S. After the plants absorbed the water, hardened polymer remained, distributed through the plant as a conductive ‘wire.’ The researchers used rose cuttings in their study, as well as some living rose plants. By combining the wires with electrolytes naturally present in the plant, the researchers were able to create a transistor that converts electrochemical signals into electrical output. In the future, such a technology may help regulate plant physiology, perhaps controlling the rate or time flowers bloom, based on the weather or the availability of water, said Magnus Berggren, a materials engineer at Linköping University and one of the study’s authors.”

ENI SPA CEO PROMOTES RENEWABLES AT CFR — Bloomberg: "A week before world leaders meet in Paris to adopt a global strategy on climate change, yet another expert says it’s time to scrap the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels. The twist? He’s also head of one of the world’s biggest oil and natural-gas explorers. The industry wants to be part of the solution to global warming but needs a consistent set of policies out of the Paris conference that encourages more climate-friendly fuels, Claudio Descalzi, chief executive officer at Eni Spa, said during a forum Monday in New York. 'We have to change the model, a model we’ve built over the last 200 years, which is based on fossil fuels,' said Descalzi, whose Rome-based company is the world’s seventh biggest oil producer by market value. He spoke at a Council on Foreign Relations panel discussion previewing the climate talks."

EU LIKELY TO EXTEND RUSSIA SANCTIONS — Bloomberg: “European Union countries will probably extend Ukraine-related economic sanctions against Russia for another six months at the end of January despite improved cooperation in Syria, three European diplomats said. Lack of progress in implementing this year’s Ukrainian peace accord means the trading bloc has no choice but to prolong the measures, diplomats from pro- and anti-sanctions nations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions are confidential. The EU’s 28 leaders are set to discuss the issue at a Dec. 17-18 summit, German Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Monday. French President Francois Hollande will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, two days after talks in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama, with the goal of forging a united front against Islamic State. Russia has stepped up strikes on the militant group after blaming terrorists for downing a Russian civilian plane in Egypt last month and after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks promised to coordinate military action in Syria with France. Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is struggling to emerge from a recession caused by the collapse in oil prices and the sanctions on its energy and financial industries.”


--Oil falls on inventory concerns: The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for January delivery settled down 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $41.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 17 cents, or 0.4%, to $44.83 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas rises on demand: The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Futures for December delivery settled up 6.5 cents, or 3%, to $2.210 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

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