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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Green Bank joins international effort; state cracks down on peaker plants

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.

NEW YORK GREEN BANK JOINS INTERNATIONAL NETWORK — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: New York’s $1 billion Green Bank is joining with five other similar financial institutions around the world to use low-cost and market-rate financing to grow renewable and clean energy projects. New York’s Green Bank is a centerpiece of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision plan, which seeks to remake the energy grid to be more energy efficient and to get more power from solar, wind and other clean energy sources. Under the plan announced Monday, New York’s Green Bank will become part of a network with the UK Green Investment Bank, the Connecticut Green Bank, the Green Fund in Japan, Malaysian Green Technology Corporation, and Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. “We are joining with other leaders to continue spurring the growth of a global clean energy economy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This will help advancing renewable energy around the world and build a sustainable economy both today and in the years ahead — and ultimately ensuring a cleaner future for generations to come." http://politi.co/1m7Kr8Z

STATE TO CRACK DOWN ON PEAKER PLANTS — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state will crack down on air pollution from peaker power generation sources that supplement that energy grid during periods of high usage. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state was increasing regulations on natural gas- and diesel-fired distributed energy resources, as required under the federal Clean Air Act. Distributed energy resources are smaller power resources that supplement the larger energy grid and include peaker plants as well as renewable-energy resources. http://politi.co/1Txi6TX

THE SOLARCITY BUILD UP — The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious: “A major component of the Buffalo Billion program, which eventually became SolarCity’s project at RiverBend, still can’t shake off sharply different interpretations over how the state conducted its bidding process. In one camp: the state wanted to get economic development moving quickly in Buffalo and thus sought a big, experienced local company that could handle development and construction tasks for future projects not yet on the drawing boards. That meant pre-selecting a vendor, and that meant some built-in flexibility in the bidding process. In the other camp: a concern that political connections and political donations affected the awarding of what became two contracts in a process whose outcome changed so much from the beginning that it should have been re-bid. That is believed to be among the areas federal prosecutors are pursuing in their probe of the Buffalo Billion program.” http://bit.ly/1OMufVM

** 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:

--NYSEG wants in on NED: The TImes Union reports, "New York State Electric & Gas, which serves about a quarter-million customers, last week told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it wants input on the NED project, which would go through the Capital Region to connect the hydrofrack fields of Pennsylvania with the Boston metropolitan area.” http://bit.ly/1HRHXFA

--Council passes geothermal bill: A bill designed to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to use geothermal energy unanimously passed the City Council on Monday. http://politi.co/1HRI57U

--Cuomo cannot be a climate governor, unless he saves all the state’s nuclear plants, including Indian Point, two energy experts opine in the New York Daily News. http://nydn.us/1Oe3dSv

--Niagara Falls is losing not only 200 jobs but one of its riskiest air polluters with the announcement Tuesday that the Chemours Company is closing its plant on Buffalo Avenue by the end of next year, the Investigative Post reports. http://bit.ly/1OLfVNn

--Iberdrola, the Spanish utility that serves tens of thousands of customers upstate, is changing its name to “Avangrid.” http://bit.ly/1OLn6VF

--GE is winding down its capacitor plant in Fort Edward over the next few weeks. http://bit.ly/1HR2jPc

--New York’s four upstate nuclear reactors provide about $3 billion in economic activity and about 20,000 jobs. http://bit.ly/1TUnIbE

--NYSEG is using drones to inspects its utility wires. http://bit.ly/1IAICLI

--Tonight: The Building Energy Exchange will host “Lighting the Future” at 6 p.m. tonight to showcase energy efficient measures. Nilda Mesa will speak, among others. http://bit.ly/1OMHdTt

HAPPY TUESDAY: 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

DEMOCRATS GIVE BIG OIL A WIN IN CONGRESS — POLITICO’s Elana Schor: “Even as they bash Big Oil and push for a strong global climate deal in Paris, Democrats are strongly considering joining forces with congressional Republicans to give the petroleum industry the biggest item on its wish list: an end to the U.S. oil exports ban that has been in effect since the era of disco and bell-bottoms. The four-decade-old ban has become a crucial bargaining chip during budget talks ahead of a Friday deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Whether the two sides can reach a deal — Democrats are asking for a host of tax credits, including for clean energy, that Republicans have long railed against — is an open question as the negotiations enter the home stretch this week.” http://politi.co/1IzXNVt

OIL PRICES STILL DROPPING PRECIPITOUSLY — NPR’s Jim Zarroli: “Oil prices fell to their lowest levels in seven years, after OPEC officials failed to agree Friday on how to address the global supply glut. By midday Monday, Brent crude futures fell 5 percent to $40.68 a barrel, the lowest price since 2009. The U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude dropped below $38 a barrel. The decline sent energy stocks such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell tumbling, and helped drag the major stock indexes down sharply. Oil prices have fallen more than 40 percent in the past year, as the industry confronts a worldwide oversupply problem. If Iranian sanctions are lifted, global production is expected to increase further.” http://n.pr/1lKe4MT

DATA SUGGESTS PERIOD OF EMISSIONS SLOWING — The New York Times’ Justin Gillis and Chris Buckley: “Industrial emissions of greenhouse gases rose only slightly in 2014 and appear to be on track to decline in 2015, according to new data that raise the possibility that a period of rapid global emissions growth may be coming to an end. The decline of 0.6 percent projected for this year, should it come to pass, would be highly unusual at a time when the global economy is growing. The projection contrasts sharply with emissions growth that averaged 2.4 percent a year over the last decade, and sometimes topped 3 percent. The new figures were released at the climate conference here by the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration that studies emissions, and published simultaneously in the journal Nature Climate Change.” http://nyti.ms/1LZLi03

EXXON BELIEVES IN CLIMATE CHANGE — Opinion for the Washington Post by Fred Hiatt: “To understand how dangerously extreme the Republican Party has become on climate change, compare its stance to that of ExxonMobil. No one would confuse the oil and gas giant with the Sierra Club. But if you visit Exxon’s website , you will find that the company believes climate change is real, that governments should take action to combat it and that the most sensible action would be a revenue-neutral tax on carbon — in other words, a tax on oil, gas and coal, with the proceeds returned to taxpayers for them to spend as they choose.” http://wapo.st/1IQKyKW

GE DROPS ELECTROLUX DEAL — The Associated Press: “GE has scrapped a $3.3 billion plan to sell its home appliance business to the Swedish company Electrolux, a deal opposed by U.S. regulators over concerns about competition. The Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate said that it will continue to run the business as it looks for other options to sell it.” http://lat.ms/1HRIgjy

OIL IN PERIL — The Wall Street Journal’s Helen Thomas: “When it comes to Big Oil’s results, the good is a distant memory, and this year has been bad. There is still potential for things to get uglier. Prices are falling, with Brent crude Monday hitting a near-seven year low. Brent has so far averaged about $47 a barrel in the fourth quarter, down from the previous quarter’s $51. U.S. natural-gas prices are lower. Prices for liquefied natural gas under contract, which tend to be linked to but lag behind oil prices, should also be coming down. This all means a continued squeeze on cash flows. But integrated giants such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total are starting to suffer elsewhere. Downstream businesses will feel the pain of a slump in refining margins.” http://on.wsj.com/1HRIreO

OIL IN PERIL — The Wall Street Journal’s Helen Thomas: “When it comes to Big Oil’s results, the good is a distant memory, and this year has been bad. There is still potential for things to get uglier. Prices are falling, with Brent crude Monday hitting a near-seven year low. Brent has so far averaged about $47 a barrel in the fourth quarter, down from the previous quarter’s $51. U.S. natural-gas prices are lower. Prices for liquefied natural gas under contract, which tend to be linked to but lag behind oil prices, should also be coming down. This all means a continued squeeze on cash flows. But integrated giants such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total are starting to suffer elsewhere. Downstream businesses will feel the pain of a slump in refining margins.” http://on.wsj.com/1HRIreO

FUTURES:

--Oil careens to a seven-year low: The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman reports with no one here or abroad ceasing production, oil fell to seven-year lows Monday.

“Light, sweet crude for January delivery settled down $2.32, or 5.8%, to $37.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract posted its largest one-day percentage drop since September. Brent, the global benchmark, fell $2.27, or 5.3%, to $40.73 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.” http://on.wsj.com/1OeZFQ4

** 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 **

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