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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Stringer backs coal divestment; utility drops solar farm bid

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive an enhanced version of this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it, 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. Thank you for reading.

STRINGER TO BACK COAL DIVESTMENT — POLITICO New York’s Laura Nahmias and David Giambusso: City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees the city’s nearly $160 billion pension system, will announce Tuesday that he intends to support a move to divest those funds from coal.

UTILITY PULLS PLAN TO OWN SOLAR FARM — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A proposal by one of the state’s utilities to own a solar farm has been quietly shelved. In July, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. proposed a plan to generate solar electricity and sell it to customers.

** 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 **

WEGMANS MOVES AWAY FROM MICROBEADS — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Rochester-based Wegmans, one of the state’s largest grocery store chains, will stop selling microbeads, a key victory for environmental advocates in their effort to end run the state Legislature.

LANDER: MANDATE ENERGY EFFICIENCY — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: City Councilman Brad Lander peppered de Blasio administration officials with questions Monday about the mayor's One City Built to Last program, expressing skepticism private landlords would ever voluntarily install energy efficiency retrofits to the scale needed to cut city greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, as the mayor has proposed.

SOLAR TURNS COMMERCIAL — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “The growth of solar energy on Long Island has centered on residential systems, but changing subsidies and shifting market dynamics could tip the focus to lagging commercial systems in 2016 and beyond, experts say.


--A reactor at the Indian Point nuclear center has shut down due to an “electrical disturbance,” the plant’s operator announced late Monday.

--The Albany Times Union explores the suspicious deals at the Port of Coeymans that favor waste haulers.

--Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and REBNY are pushing a program to make buildings more energy efficient by attaching riders to new and renewal leases informing tenants about cost-saving programs, Adams plans to announce this week. POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg reports.

--Sen. Daniel Squadron thinks the state should rename Donald J. Trump State Park.

--Did the factories of Hoosick Falls leave behind toxins in the water supply that are now responsible for killing people?

--De Blasio administration touts OneNYC progress: Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration says it has made progress on its OneNYC plan, the policy document that sets a course for the city's efforts on environmental and climate change resiliency — from solar at City Hall to a new tool to control buildings' energy use.

--Wappingers Falls to test energy storage: Microgrid Knowledge reports, “A New York microgrid demonstration project will use an energy storage system from Eos Energy that the company describes as the lowest-cost battery storage on the market.

HAPPY TUESDAY: 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:

THE VOLUNTARY CLIMATE ACCORDS — Vox’s Brad Plumer: “There's a radical, counterintuitive idea at the heart of the big Paris climate accord that strikes many people as baffling. The deal is ... largely voluntary. That's right: None of the 195 countries that signed on are actually required to make emissions cuts.

--“In a stark display of the partisan divide in the United States over climate change, the Republican presidential candidates have said almost nothing about the Paris Agreement, even though whoever succeeds Mr. Obama will be tasked with carrying it out,” Thomas Kaplan writes for the New York Times.

--350.Org’s Bill McKibben for The Guardian: ”Pace is now the key word for climate. Not where we’re going, but how fast we’re going there. Pace —velocity, speed, rate, momentum, tempo. That’s what matters from here on in.

COAL NOT GOING ANYWHERE — Opinion for Reuters by Clyde Russell: “It's tempting to take the champagne-fuelled view that the historic global climate agreement reached in Paris signals the death of coal, but even if the dirty fuel is terminal, it will be a long, lingering demise before the final hacking cough.

TAR SANDS STRUGGLING — NPR’s Jeff Brady: “Canada has the world's third-largest oil reserve, and it's worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Nearly all of that crude is contained in Alberta's oil sands.

THE OIL AND GAS CRASH — The New York TImes’ Clifford Krauss: “Plummeting oil and natural gas prices have whipsawed the energy industry, forcing cancellations of billions of dollars of projects, late payments on loans, and over a quarter of a million layoffs worldwide. On Monday, with domestic gas prices hitting their lowest level since 2001,

BURR: TOXIC UPDATE FOR CONSERVATION FUND — POLITICO's Darren Goode: “Sen. Richard Burr [on Monday] said he would lift his hold on a bipartisan chemical reform bill if the Land and Water Conservation Fund is authorized for more than a year in a year-end omnibus spending deal.

HOUSE DEMS OPEN TO EXPORTS — Bloomberg: “House Democrats are open to lifting the 40-year-ban on U.S. crude-oil exports and are negotiating with Republicans in hopes of extracting trade-offs in exchange for a top Republican priority, a Democratic leadership aide said Monday.

--The New York Times Editorial Board backs exports with conditions: “If Congress decides to change a 40-year-old law that restricts the export of crude oil, as is likely this week, that move must be accompanied by measures like tax credits for renewable energy to help in the fight against climate change.”

ACORE PICKS NEW CEO: From the release: “The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) announced [Monday] that its Board of Directors has unanimously selected Gregory Wetstone to become the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2016.

WARS NOT MAKE ONE GREAT: The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog reports on several items from the Star Wars franchise that were still science fiction in 1977 when the first installment of the movies was released. Since then items like lasers and energy weapons have become real.

--Mayor Bill de Blasio is not a fan:


--Natural gas hits 14-year low: The warmest start to winter on record has done a number on natural gas futures, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“January natural-gas futures closed 9.6 cents lower at $1.894 a million British thermal units. Contracts for future delivery of gas are at all-time lows as far out as 2028. On an inflation-adjusted basis, Monday’s settlement price for natural gas was the lowest since February 1992 and was within 10 cents of the inflation-adjusted record low from January 1992 of $1.80 per million BTUs.”

--U.S. crude up, European down: Domestic crude did ok on Monday, the Journal reports, but European continued to decline. The Journal reports.

“On Monday, Brent crude tumbled to a low of $36.33 a barrel, below its close of $36.61 a barrel from December 2008 ... The U.S. benchmark settled up 69 cents, or 1.9%, at $36.31 a barrel, after falling to as low as $34.53 a barrel ... Gasoline prices averaged $2.01 on Monday, the lowest level since 2009, according to AAA. ”

** 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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