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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Cuomo's nuclear plan, blizzard cleanup

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.

CUOMO PLAN TO SAVE NUCLEAR UNVEILED—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The Cuomo administration’s plan to save nuclear power plants will force utilities to pay for emissions credits that cover their losses in the face of cheap natural gas. On Thursday, the administration began proceeding with the Clean Energy Standard, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered to be completed by July to reach the state’s clean energy goals of powering half of the electrical grid with wind, solar and other sources by 2030. However, at least two of the state’s nuclear reactors are in danger of closing within the next few years and would significantly increase air pollution because they would be replaced by fossil-fuel burning power plants in the near future.

The administration policy will prolong the life of nuclear facilities for a few years, to serve as a bridge to a clean energy future. To meet that goal, the state Department of Public Service is recommending a policy to require utilities to purchase a certain amount of nuclear power. Utilities and other energy companies, such as energy service companies, will purchase power from nuclear facilities.

PICKING UP THE PIECES AFTER JONAS — The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Matthews: “A broad swath of the East Coast—stretching from South Carolina to Massachusetts—began digging out and cleaning up on Sunday after a major winter storm broke snow-accumulation records, shut down major cities, and left at least 20 dead in its wake. Hardest hit were the major cities along the northern stretch of the Interstate-95 corridor, from Washington, D.C., to New York City, which all saw snow totals of more than two feet. The storm also brought severe flooding to New Jersey’s southern coast. In Cape May County, damage was widespread throughout the county’s 16 towns, which also saw power outages, wind damage and beach erosion, county spokeswoman Diane Wieland said.”

--With nearly 27 inches of snow the blizzard that moved through the region Saturday was the second worst in city history in terms of snowfall, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

--”PSEG said strengthened infrastructure helped avoid major and lengthy power outages from Saturday’s storm, along with a lucky break — while there was more than two feet of snow in most places, it was light and fluffy and less likely to snap branches and wires.” Newsday reports.

** 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 **


--The federal Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to designate an upstate village as a Superfund site because of its polluted water supply.

--Pipeline opponents came out in force in Bethlehem to oppose a 400 mile natural gas pipeline being developed by Kinder Morgan. Time Warner reports.

--Gov. Andrew Cuomo re-announced a college clean energy contest last week that will award $1 million apiece to three New York-based universities that submit the best plan to promote on-campus clean energy use. Here’s the story from October when the governor announced the contest the first time.

--GE is delaying the closing of its Fort Edward capacitor factory.

--The Commercial Observer sings Mayor de Blasio’s praises for his plan to reduce building emissions.

--The New York Post ticks off each of the governor’s energy policies and argues in an op-ed that they’re not really energy policies.

--Keith Schue writes in the Albany Times Union that Cuomo should stop the Constitution pipeline.

GOOD MONDAY 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:

UTILITIES’ CHANGING MODEL — Bill Loveless for USA Today: “Executives with investor-owned utilities across the U.S. say their companies are here to stay. But they also acknowledge that their business is changing significantly, with new technologies like rooftop solar systems giving them stiff competition and regulations forcing them to shut down big carbon-emitting coal plants. All this comes as consumers rely increasingly on electricity to power cell phones, computers, and the countless other devices that make up the Internet of Things."

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EXPANDS CLIMATE FIGHT—The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick: “The Obama administration took a step Friday toward plugging thousands of small methane leaks from oil and gas operations around the country, saying the escaping gas is contributing to climate change. The Interior Department announced proposed regulations that would require energy companies to reduce methane leaks in order to drill anywhere on land owned by the government or Native American tribes. The proposals would affect more than 100,000 oil wells that supply about 10 percent of the nation’s natural gas.”

CA GAS LEAK BOOSTING GLOBAL WARMING — The Los Angeles Times: “In three months, one failed well at Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon storage field has spewed more greenhouse gases than any other facility in California. At its height, the leak more than doubled the methane emissions of the entire Los Angeles Basin and surpassed what is released by all industrial activity in the state.”

CITIZEN SCIENTISTS’ TRACK EL NINO — The Associated Press: “Forget about selfies. In California, residents are using smartphones and drones to document the coastline’s changing face. Starting this month, The Nature Conservancy is asking tech junkies to capture the flooding and coastal erosion that come with El Nino, a weather pattern that’s bringing California its wettest winter in years — and all in the name of science. The idea is that crowd-sourced, geotagged images of storm surges and flooded beaches will give scientists a brief window into what the future holds as sea levels rise from global warming, a sort of a crystal ball for climate change.”

CANADIAN CARBON CAP CRIMPS CRUDE — The Wall street Journal’s Chester Dawson: “Canada’s efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions are calling into question oil majors’ ability to tap the world’s third-largest oil reserves. The new left-leaning government of the Canadian province of Alberta, which came to power in May after 44 years of conservative rule, has announced it would cap carbon emissions from its oil-sands industry, a move that threatens to strand billions of barrels of crude from supplies so vast that only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela control more.”

FEDS TO END WHOOPING CRANE MIGRATION — The Associated Press: “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will stop supporting the use of ultralight aircraft to help young whooping cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida each fall. Officials announced Friday that this season’s ultralight-guided flights to the birds’ winter home will be the last, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Operation Migration, the Canadian-based nonprofit group that has led the migrations for 15 years, has opposed the end of ultralights, saying the program has helped cranes survive. But Fish and Wildlife officials the birds haven’t been successful in producing chicks and raising them in the wild.”

CHINA WINS ON COMMODITIES ROUT — Bloomberg: “The pain from the rout in global commodity prices is sweeping through nations from Brazil to South Africa. The biggest beneficiary? Arguably it’s China, the nation often blamed for driving prices lower due to its slowing economic growth. China’s annual savings from the commodities rout amount to $460 billion, according to calculations by Kenneth Courtis, former Asia vice chairman at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. About $320 billion of that is from cheaper oil, with the rest from other energy, metals, coal and agricultural commodities.”


--Oil rallies ahead of storm: The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman reports the storm and potential stimulus from the central bank boosted oil prices Friday.

“Light, sweet crude for March delivery on Friday settled up $2.66, or 9%, at $32.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since Jan. 8. Prices rose 5.9% this week, snapping a three-week losing streak. Brent, the global benchmark, rose $2.93, or 10%, to $32.18 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, capping an 11% weekly gain.”

** 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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