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POLITICO New York Energy: Con Ed's demand plan; Assembly pauses LIPA bond

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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CON ED LOOKS TO CUT MORE DEMAND — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: A push by Con Edison to determine whether it can avoid transmission upgrades by reducing demand in Brooklyn and Queens will now include its entire service territory. In a filing with the state Department of Public Service this week, the state's biggest utility outlined a plan to reach all of its 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County and search for ways to cut energy demand through customer-side initiatives like energy efficiency, demand response and renewable energy sources."

ASSEMBLY HOLDS UP LIPA BOND — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “The state Public Authorities Control Board on Wednesday applied the brakes on $930 million in financing for LIPA, citing the need for more information on its impact on ratepayers. A spokesman for the board, which approves every bond measure by every state authority, declined Wednesday night to say when the PACB would take up the measure again. The board meets monthly and will meet again next month. The board is 'looking for information on how it would affect ratepayers,' said Mike Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.”


--While noting the problem of lead poisoning is primarily a local responsibility, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Investigative Post on Wednesday that the state is prepared to act “right away” to help deal with the problem.

--Climate change is extending the maple syrup production system.

--Lead levels in the water of the Ithaca school district is testing at levels that exceed health guidelines.

--Drilling has begun at the eastern tip of Long Island to determine the feasibility of a transmission cable being built in the area.

--The first class of veterans trained to work in the solar industry after their military service has graduated from Fort Drum.

--Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a photo of a Carnegie Deli sandwich to commemorate the iconic deli’s reopening with the caption reading only, “America.” Carnegie was shut down by Con Ed for more than nine months for operating an illegal gas hookup. America.

-- The New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx has been chosen as the site of the state's first solar schools project, state officials announced.

GOOD THURSDAY 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:

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT INVESTING IN SOLAR — Motley Fool: “Solar energy has been beaten up in the media and by investors over the past few years, in large part due to the fact that most people don't fully understand the way it works, nor how it's changing energy as we know it. But the fundamental fact is that solar energy is by far the most abundant power source in the world, and creating electricity from the sun is getting cheaper every year. Whether you've been following the solar industry for years or you're just getting curious about solar, here are five things you need to know.”

CLIMATE TURMOIL NOT GUARANTEED — Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “Last week, the Supreme Court threw U.S. and international climate policy into turmoil by freezing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan while it is being challenged before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But matters took a turn over the weekend with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose absence from the high court could mean that the plan will ultimately survive. ‘If Scalia’s seat remains vacant when the Clean Power Plan reaches the high court, a 4-4 vote would result in an automatic affirmance of the D.C. Circuit’s decision on the rule,’ says Jack Lienke, an attorney with the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, by email.”

CUTTING DEMAND IS CATCHING ON — Greentech Media’s Katherine Tweed: “There are projects proposed or in operation from California to Michigan to Florida that aim to defer the cost of expensive grid equipment such as conductors, transformers and substations and use demand-side resources, such as demand response, energy efficiency and energy storage, in those pockets instead. Using energy efficiency to defer T&D upgrades has been common in some states for years, but the new wave of non-wires alternatives is leveraging a mix of more sophisticated demand-response controls and grid-edge technologies that allow utilities greater precision in dropping load where needed to get the most out of grid assets.”

ONLINE SHOPPING NOT GREAT FOR ENVIRONMENT — “Despite common logic, the unseen impacts of e-commerce are hurting the environment more than they're helping, a new study suggests. Although shopping from home keeps shoppers from jumping in their cars, one-by-one, to drive to local stores, online shopping has a greater impact on transportation and greenhouse emissions, according to a multi-year study by the University of Delaware. 'Our simulation results showed that home shopping puts an additional burden on the local transportation network, as identified through four measures of effectiveness — travel time, delay, average speed, and greenhouse gas emissions,' said study co-author Mingxin Li, a researcher at the Delaware Center for Transportation.”

FORD DROPS ALEC — The Guardian: “Ford has cut ties with the controversial lobby group Alec, joining a roster of big corporations that have distanced themselves from the rightwing network that promotes policies at the state level to counter environmental regulations. The car giant confirmed to the watchdog the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that it had ended its membership. A company spokesman said that 'we will not be participating in Alec in 2016.' Ford did not specify the reason for the split other than to say that it flowed from an 'annual budget review.'”

PEABODY’S $1.47B PROBLEM — Bloomberg: “While Peabody Energy Corp. has spent months negotiating its debt with lenders, another $1.47 billion problem has surfaced that’s threatening to force the nation’s biggest coal miner down the same road as its bankrupt rivals. It’s called 'self-bonding.' And it’s under attack by groups who’ve lodged complaints about the practice in five states in the past week.”

TVA CONSIDERS SELLING UNFINISHED NUKE PLANT — The Washington Post: “The Tennessee Valley Authority said Wednesday that it is considering whether to sell its unfinished Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, started in 1974 in northeast Alabama and mothballed for the past 28 years without ever producing any electricity. The federal utility announced it is taking public comments on whether to sell the 1,600-acre site on the Tennessee River near Hollywood, a town of about 1,000 people located 120 miles northeast of Birmingham.”

CHINESE VILLAGERS DISPLACED FOR ALIENS — The New York Times: “More than 9,000 Chinese villagers are leaving their homes to make way for aliens — or for the possible echoes of them, at least. It is not a colonization plan from outer space. The Chinese government is relocating the villagers as it finishes building the world’s biggest radio telescope, one of whose purposes is to detect signs of extraterrestrial life. The telescope will be 500 meters, or 1,640 feet, in diameter, making it by far the largest instrument of its kind in the world. It is called FAST, short for 500-meter aperture spherical telescope, and will cost an estimated 1.2 billion renminbi, or $184 million, to erect. The government hopes to complete it by September.”

IRAN BRINGS HINT OF GOOD NEWS TO OIL MARKET — NPR’s Marilyn Geewax: “For the oil industry, this is what passes for good news: Iran said Wednesday that it would be great if other countries would limit their oil production to boost prices. As for itself, Iran will continue to ramp up oil production. That may not sound like much reason for celebration, but Iran's expression of support for multi-nation plan to restrain oil output was enough to give the energy market a boost. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.62, or 5.6%, to settle at $30.66 a barrel.”


--Oil was boosted by the Iran announcement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Prices surged after the news of his remarks, adding to gains from earlier in the day. Light, sweet crude for March delivery settled up $1.62, or 5.6%, to $30.66 a barrel Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, settled up $2.32, or 7.2%, at $34.50 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas settles higher on cooler weather forecasts, the Journal reports.

“Futures for March delivery settled up 3.9 cents, or 2.1%, at $1.942 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

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