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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: NY to lose half its coal fleet, pipeline problems

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.

COAL DWINDLING IN STATE—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Half of New York’s coal-burning power fleet will go offline by the end of next year. The Dunkirk and Huntley coal plants are not needed for reliability on the electrical grid, the state’s independent grid operator and National Grid determined, according to documents filed Thursday with the state Public Service Commission.

NEW YORK’S PIPELINE PROBLEMS—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: One of the state's most prominent anti-fracking activists says the Department of Environmental Conservation should not sign off on water permits for proposed pipelines because of past spills of oil and gas his organization has uncovered in New York.

** 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 **

SANITATION FIGHT — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: New York City Councilman Antonio Reynoso sent an email to constituents Friday, informing them the Department of Sanitation has cut by 50 percent the amount of waste it sends to the Brooklyn Transfer Station in Bushwick after growing public outcry over the station's practices.

WIND TURBINES FOR LEASE SPREAD IN NEW YORK—The New York Times’ Diane Cardwell: “A start-up called United Wind is applying the rooftop solar model to wind, installing and maintaining systems at little to no upfront cost to the customer. As with the solar systems from companies like SolarCity and Sunrun, customers sign long-term agreements to buy the electricity the systems produce at prices set below those from their local utility. Most of the company’s customers, including the Doodys, are in rural areas like central and western New York, but the firm is rapidly expanding its reach.”

IRAN HACKED A STATE DAM — The Wall Street Journal’s Danny Yadron: “Iranian hackers infiltrated the control system of a small dam less than 20 miles from New York City two years ago, sparking concerns that reached to the White House, according to former and current U.S. officials and experts familiar with the previously undisclosed incident.”


--Gannett’s Jon Campbell looks at why Cuomo is supportive of some nuclear plants, but not others.

--Kinder Morgan has begun its promotional push for pipelines in New York.

--Unshackle Upstate wants Cuomo to lift the state’s fracking ban.

--Grid operators in New York and New England are working together more closely on grid operations.

--The U.S. Senate passed a microbead ban on Friday, supported by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

HAPPY MONDAY: 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:

CLIMATE AGREEMENT DIMINISHES DOUBT ARGUMENT—Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “After 195 countries agreed in Paris Dec. 12 to a sweeping agreement to try to bring global warming under control, there has been much analysis of what this means for the future of energy. But there are reasons to think that it also may have a surprising impact on the future of politics, even in the U.S. — namely, by taking away some of the motivations and dynamics that, for so long, have driven global warming skepticism, doubt and denial.”

OIL AND ISIS: Oil is a major source of income for ISIS, and the Rand Corporation lays out some of the ways the world can cut off the energy money flowing to the terrorist organization.

HOLD THE MOCKERY ON NORTH CAROLINA SOLAR STORY—Vox’s David Roberts: “On December 8, a modest local newspaper, the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald,published a story that ended up going viral, bouncing from Reddit to more than 220 other sites. It caused such buzz that even Snopes checked it out.”

US WILL NEEDS LAWS TO MAKE CLIMATE GOALS—The New York Times’ David Gelles: “The climate agreement reached in Paris last weekend has been hailed as a landmark in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it could well turn out to be one. But the accord’s lofty goals won’t be achieved without large corporations making big changes. And while many companies have welcomed the deal and voluntarily pledged to cut emissions, the sweeping reforms required to avert a sharp rise in global temperatures will almost certainly require substantial new government regulations.”

BIOFUELS PIVOT — The Wall street Journal’s Amy Harder: “Solazyme Inc., a company founded 12 years ago to make car and truck fuel from algae, is vigorously pushing a new product. But this time, it is fuel for the body: cooking oil, based on algae, marketed as healthful for you and the planet. Solazyme is one of an array of companies whose initial mission of making alternative fuel has been undercut by cheap oil and regulatory delays.”

CALIFORNIA GAS LEAK GETS UGLY— The Wall Street Journal: “County officials have declared a state of emergency in the Porter Ranch neighborhood here, where more than 1,600 residents have been displaced by a massive natural-gas leak now entering its ninth week. Southern California Gas Co. says it may take until March to stop the methane flowing from an old oil field used to store natural gas. The utility, a unit of Sempra Energy of San Diego, says it has made six unsuccessful efforts to stop the leak, which appears to be coming from a well rupture about 500 feet below the surface.

ENERGY FRAUD — Reuters: “Two men including an oil equipment supply firm executive have been arrested on charges related to an alleged scheme to corruptly secure energy contracts from Venezuela's state-owned energy company, the U.S. Justice Department said Sunday. Roberto Rincon, the president of Texas-based Tradequip Services & Marine, was arrested on Wednesday in Houston on charges including that he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and engaged in money laundering, a Justice Department spokesman said.”

BAD BETS ON OIL — Bloomberg: “Speculators betting oil would rebound from a six-year low got it wrong as the market rout resumed.Oil rose on Dec. 15 on reports that the U.S. was about to lift the 40-year ban on crude exports and on forecasts that government data would show a decline in America’s crude inventories. Prices dropped the next day on the realization that there was little overseas demand for the crude and after U.S. supplies climbed to the highest level for this time of year since 1930.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS, OIL PRICES — The New York Times’ Elizabeth Olson: “Those who fret about the cost of holiday gift-giving can take some comfort this year that the prices of the fanciful presents, starting with a partridge in a pear tree, tracked annually as a humorous gauge of inflation have risen a scant 0.6 percent from last year ... 'Low commodity prices and a decline in energy prices this year are keeping consumer prices down,' said James P. Dunigan, managing executive for investments at PNC.”


--Oil prices turned lower Friday after a big increase in weekly rig-count data returned attention to the supply glut, Timothy Puko writes for the Wall Street Journal.

“Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 22 cents, or 0.6%, to $34.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since February 2009. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 18 cents, or 0.5%, to $36.88 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the lowest level since December 2008.”

** 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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