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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Clean water funding; NYISO urges more pipelines

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 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.

ROUND TWO ON CLEAN WATER FUNDING PUSH—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A coalition of engineers, the state Conference of Mayors, environmental and community groups are joining together to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase funding for clean water projects across the state. The groups want Cuomo to include $800 million in this year’s budget for local communities to replace aging sewer and water infrastructure. The groups cited $2 billion from recent settlements with banks as a possible source of the funding. “We are living in the 21st Century on early 20th Century infrastructure and that’s certainly not sustainable for our communities, our businesses and our infrastructure,” said Liz Moran, water and natural resources associate at Environmental Advocates of New York.

GRID OPERATOR: NEW YORK NEEDS MORE PIPELINES AND TRANSMISSION LINES—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state’s independent grid operator is calling for an increased focus on bringing in natural gas infrastructure and transmission lines to meet the state’s shifting energy needs. On Monday, the New York State Independent System Operator released a strategic plan that said the reliability of the electrical grid is increasingly linked to the availability of natural gas, particularly as cheap prices see more of a shift toward gas. The state’s fuel mix used to power the grid is becoming less diverse as its shifts away from oil and coal, which means the grid is more challenged during periods of peak demand.

** 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 **

CUOMO AND LAWMAKERS SHOULD FOCUS ON NUCLEAR—Opinion by James Conca for Forbes: “What the Governor and the state legislature should do is immediately value low-carbon energy regardless of source, and give nuclear sufficient incentives to continue operating in a market along side highly-subsidized renewable generation and low natural gas prices. If the term renewable was replaced with low-carbon in state mandates, production tax credits and other incentive programs, the problem would be fixed overnight. If the Governor gets his way and closes Indian Point, then New York will lose 30% of its clean energy and wind is going to have a really tough time replacing that amount of generation by 2030, given its poor track record to date. And never mind reducing emissions by 40% since more natural gas will be needed to back-up that huge amount of wind.”


--Councilman proposes foam recycling bill: In the wake of Mayor Bill de Blasio's legal defeat over a proposed polystyrene foam ban, City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, flanked by plastic industry representatives, proposed a bill Tuesday that would require the recycling of all foam products produced by the city.

--U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tweets her support for a Senate bill banning the use of microbeads. The House passed a bipartisan measure earlier this week sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

--The City of Albany is signing an international climate pledge to lower carbon emissions and become more environmentally-focused.

--The Albany Times Union’s Larry Rulison profiles the new head of the New York State Independent System Operator.

GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING : 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:

WHITE HOUSE PLAYS COY ON OIL EXPORTS — POLITICO’s Elana Schor: The White House on Tuesday declined to rule out accepting a Congressional measure to allow U.S. oil exports for the first time in four decades, a potential signal to senior Democrats who are considering striking a deal with the GOP to overturn the ban in exchange for other party priorities. The White House "continues to oppose" a legislative provision rolling back the decades-old ban on exporting U.S. crude, spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, "but I'm just not going to get into a detailed list of things we are going to veto or not veto."

SOLAR STRUGGLES FOR INCENTIVES — POLITICO’s Esther Whieldon: The solar industry is running out of time to secure a key expansion of its tax credit, and advocates warn that if Congress fails to act developers will struggle to finance new projects and the pace of new investments will slow. Negotiations remained stalled Tuesday over a large tax extenders deal that would have made permanent some incentives favored by members of both parties. Details of the bill remained in flux, but sources had said it likely would have phased out wind and solar tax credits over a number of years. Solar developers have lobbied Congress to extend that deadline and make it easier for developers to qualify for the credit, and combining that proposal with other reforms to the tax code was a leading strategy to secure those changes.

OIL AND SOLAR, FELIX AND OSCAR — Russell Gold for the KBH Center for Energy, Law and Business: “West Texas may be the next big area for solar power. But first the solar industry needs to figure out how to grow alongside the oil industry. Here’s the problem: Solar developers need to blanket large areas with solar panels. But some of the best areas in the United States for large-scale solar farms are atop the Permian Basin, a prolific oil region. Oil companies own a lot of mineral rights in the area, which gives them the right under Texas law to set up drilling rigs and punch a few holes. Both industries are interested in growing in West Texas. The state’s power grid expects several gigawatt’s worth of solar installations in the next 15 years. And oil output in West Texas shows few signs of letting up. Given this mutual interest, it’s worth considering a recent land deal in Pecos County, Texas. Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., plans to develop a 157.5-megawatt solar farm. Apache Corp., a Houston oil company, owns the mineral rights underneath most of the property and has drilled about a dozen wells in the vicinity. According to both companies, a deal has been struck that will allow the solar farm to be built, but preserves Apache’s ability to construct needed roads, drill wells, lay pipes and install tank batteries.”

ON THE MEDIA: A new online publication, “Arctic Deeply” has launched, exploring in-depth the state of the melting Arctic, its causes and its impacts. The site analyses “the latest news and most important developments in the Arctic, including the Paris climate talks, an investigation into environmental assessments for offshore oil development and copper mining in Greenland.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The New York Times first raised the specter of dangerous rising carbon emissions in 1956.

RISING TIDE OF MORE SHIPS LIFTS CARBON EMISSIONS—The New York Times’ Henry Fountain: “As nations gather in Paris for final negotiations on a new climate treaty, the issue of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping remains Environmentalists and others say that too little has been done to rein in ship emissions. As a percentage of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions, the contribution from shipping is relatively small — about 2.6 percent of the global total in 2012, the most recent year for which firm data available. But that figure is poised to grow enormously. A report released last month by the European Parliament concluded that as the global economy expands, and as countries and other industries reduce their carbon footprint, by 2050, shipping could account for about one-sixth of all the CO2 released into the atmosphere by human activity.”

PUTIN’S SURPRISING CLIMATE SHIFT CONNECTED TO RUSSIAN COMPANY—The New York Times: “One of the surprises of the Paris climate talks was the sudden interest by Russia in appearing as a player in the efforts to reel in greenhouse gases. The first part of that effort occurred on the first day of the talks, when President Vladimir V. Putin, who had long mocked climate change, declared it “one of the gravest challenges humanity is facing.” The second part occurred on Monday, when an event was added to the schedule of news briefings: “Russia Proposes a New Approach to Climate Change.” And so Russia did, putting forth a plan — and a report — that in the end seemed largely geared toward promoting a government-funded business, run by a prominent politician.”

GERMAN POWER GRID USES 30 PERCENT RENEWABLES—The New York Times: “Germany has made big strides in installing renewable energy, but the transition, known as the Energiewende, has complicated matters for the country’s largest power providers and the managers of its electrical grid. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are difficult to manage because their production levels rise and falls according to wind strength and the amount of sunlight, and because they come onto the grid from different directions rather than from giant power plants. Despite such challenges, Terium, chief executive of RWE, one of Germany’s largest utilities, said at The International New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference in Paris on Tuesday that the country had managed to a adapt to generating as much as 30 percent of it electric power from renewable sources with few hiccups, despite earlier predictions to the contrary.”

KENTUCKY COAL FIRM BARRED — The Associated Press: “The state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet has agreed to fine a coal mining company that acknowledged thousands of Clean Water Act violations, effectively barring the company from operating in Kentucky in the future. Frasure Creek Mining and its parent companies, Trinity Coal and New Trinity, will immediately pay the state $500,000. An additional fine of $2.75 million will be levied if any of the companies apply for mining permits in Kentucky in the future.”

GIVE IT TO INDIA — The Economic Times: “India's solar dreams have a new backer in American energy experts. On the sidelines of the climate talks in Paris, a group of solar experts from Stanford University released a report on Tuesday calling India's solar goals a "global priority". The report calls for the international community - banks, financial institutions, governments - to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "audacious solar ambitions", which present opportunities for India and the world.”


--Oil is falling: Oversupply has led to further losses in oil futures.

“Brent, the global benchmark, pared losses during intraday trading on Tuesday to end at $40.26 a barrel, down 1.2% on ICE Futures Europe. U.S. crude for January delivery slipped 0.4% to $37.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

** 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 **

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