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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: FitzPatrick deal confusing workers, City Hall to streamline solar

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York energy policy news throughout the day, please contact us at newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access. We’ll send the same newsletter to non-Pro subscribers at 10 a.m. Thank you for reading.

ENTERGY: CUOMO ‘CONFUSING’ FITZPATRICK WORKERS WITH UNREALISTIC DEAL — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The owner of half the state’s nuclear reactors says the Cuomo administration’s plans for the industry are vague and could take more than a year to implement even under the most ideal of circumstances. What’s more, Entergy Wholesale commodities president Bill Mohl said Thursday that the administration was confusing the 600 employees of the struggling James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility in Oswego County by floating deals that may appear to give it a second chance when, in fact, the plant is destined to close. State officials suggested a plan on Wednesday under which Exelon, which owns the two Nine Mile Point nuclear reactors adjacent to Entergy’s FitzPatrick plant, would provide nuclear fuel to keep the FitzPatrick facility operating until 2018. However, Mohl said that idea appears to come from Exelon and the Cuomo and did not include any input from Entergy. http://politi.co/1XLxJZ8

CITY HALL TO STREAMLINE SOLAR — POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg: “Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is altering the way it handles solar-panel installation projects in an effort to encourage more owners to go green. The Department of Buildings will announce Thursday that most small-scale solar panel installation projects will soon be eligible for professional certification. Currently, department staff must approve the plans, and that has been taking an increasingly long time as demand rises. The new measure, which is set to begin on Jan. 1, will enable registered architects and professional engineers to certify the projects to ensure full compliance with all construction and zoning regulations, the agency said in a release. The agency believes this simplifies the permitting process for some projects, while freeing up staff to handle more complex ones.” http://politi.co/1N63Nlq

GRID OPERATOR: WINTER CAPACITY ADEQUATE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state’s electrical grid operator has determined that there is enough capacity to meet demand during the coldest days this winter. The New York Independent State Operator forecasts a winter peak grid load of 24,515 megawatts, similar to last year’s load, according to a report released Thursday. However, it is less than the 2014 record winter peak of 25,738 MW, set during a January day in the depths of Polar Vortex. The state has total capacity resources of 42,535 MW. http://politi.co/1NK3JgQ

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York’s nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP. Learn more at NuclearMatters.com. **

AROUND NEW YORK:

--The actor who played the farmer in “Babe” and Andrew Mellon on “Boardwalk Empire” was tossed out of a hearing on a proposed natural gas plant in the Hudson Valley. http://bit.ly/1SyXr1F

--New York-based National Fuel Gas is investing in Pennsylvania fracking wells. http://bit.ly/1m05ZUU

--The fracking boom is keeping heating prices low this winter. http://bit.ly/1LRfI4E

--Al Jazeera looks at concerns over a natural gas pipeline being built near the Indian Point nuclear facility. http://bit.ly/1Nt3Zi5

--The state has designated a number of polluted areas across New York as being eligible for redevelopment money to aid in their cleanup, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday. http://politi.co/1LRfHxF

--Kingston and Catskill are joining with other Hudson Valley communities to oppose efforts by the state Thruway Authority to control an environmental review of a proposed crude oil pipeline. http://bit.ly/1MZf0Gz

HAPPY FRIDAY: Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB

CRANE OUT AT NRG — The New York Times’ Diane Cardwell: “David Crane, who tried to transform NRG from a conventional power producer into a leading clean-energy provider, has stepped down, the company said on Thursday. His replacement is Mauricio Gutierrez, who has been executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2010. NRG operates a large fossil-fuel-based fleet of power plants, but Mr. Crane, who led the company since its emergence from bankruptcy more than 12 years ago, was investing heavily in green and emerging businesses like rooftop solar, electric vehicle charging and home automation. He became a high-profile proponent of change, traveling extensively to gatherings with energy executives and clean-energy advocates like Bill Clinton and Richard Branson. NRG, Mr. Crane said, was poised to take advantage of the shift away from the traditional monopoly business model in the power industry. But, as a combination of low oil and gas prices and the threat of rising interest rates led to turbulence in the energy markets and skittishness among renewable energy investors, the company pulled back from its ambitions, announcing in September that it would put the green enterprises into a separate company on a tight leash.” http://nyti.ms/1N62N0x

MASSEY CEO FOUND GUILTY IN FATAL MINE COLLAPSE — The Wall Street Journal: “A jury convicted former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship of conspiracy to violate federal safety laws but acquitted him of more onerous counts of lying to investors in connection with a 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 miners. In a precedent-setting case that riveted the state for more than a month, Mr. Blankenship, 65 years old, is believed to be the first chief executive of a major U.S. corporation to be convicted of workplace-safety-related charges brought after a deadly industrial accident. The explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine was the worst U.S. mining accident in four decades. The conspiracy charge for which he was convicted is a misdemeanor with a maximum prison sentence of one year.” http://on.wsj.com/1XCW6NO

HOUSE BETS ON OIL — The Washington Post: “Defying a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House on Thursday approved a sweeping bill to boost U.S. energy production, lift a four-decade ban on crude oil exports and modernize the aging electric grid. The first major energy legislation in nearly a decade, the bill would also speed natural gas exports and hasten approval of natural gas pipelines across public lands. It also would advance cross-border projects such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which lingered for more than seven years before being rejected last month by President Barack Obama. The vote was 249-174. The Senate still must consider the measure.” http://wapo.st/1N65xLk

JUDGE APPROVES SPLIT FOR ENERGY FUTURE — Bloomberg; “Energy Future Holdings Corp. won court approval to shed about $30 billion in debt and split into two separate companies, taking a step closer to unraveling the biggest — and perhaps the worst-timed — leveraged buyout ever. Thursday’s ruling means the bifurcated Energy Future can exit bankruptcy in a few months, provided Texas regulators bless the reorganization and the Dallas-based company wins the Internal Revenue Service’s endorsement of the tax structure behind the deal. With lower debt, the two companies will be in a better position to weather the difficult market conditions that caused the $48 billion leveraged buyout to founder about seven years after it was completed under the leadership of KKR & Co. and TPG. The new plan wipes out the LBO sponsors’ equity.” http://bloom.bg/1XCV9VS

GERMANY MAY OFFER MODEL FOR REIGNING IN FOSSIL FUEL USE — The New York Times’ Molly Eddy: “If negotiators in Paris reach an agreement next week on a global plan to rein in the use of fossil fuels, the next question becomes this: How can the participating countries fulfill their pledges to do their part? They may get some direction from Germany, which has claimed some early success in diversifying its energy sources and balancing economic growth with environmental concerns. Many other nations and political and business leaders had scoffed whenGermany set out to make the transition from carbon-emitting power plants to renewable energy, committing itself to developing new energy sources, reducing consumption, phasing out nuclear power and investing in a low-carbon future.” http://nyti.ms/1NtrZla

FUTURES:

--Oil rises on weak dollar: The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for January delivery settled up $1.14, or 2.9%, to $41.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose $1.35, or 3.2%, to $43.84 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.” http://on.wsj.com/1XCWVGr

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America’s existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America’s carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state’s electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York’s state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at NuclearMatters.com **

================================= 2015 POLITICO, LLC POLITICO New York Energy To unsubscribe, click here. 1000 Wilson Blvd., 8th Floor
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