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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: State considers clean energy standard; Westchester renewable contracts

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 newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access. Thank you for reading.

STATE CONSIDERS OPTION FOR CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state has about three months left to craft a policy to save most of its nuclear facilities, including those facing closure in the next few years. The state’s Clean Energy Standard seeks to preserve the upstate nuclear reactors, to be used as a bridge to a cleaner energy future. Nuclear facilities produce baseload power without producing air pollution. The Cuomo administration views nuclear facilities as a key resource as it seeks to power half of the electrical grid with renewables by 2030. http://politi.co/1LShidy

WESTCHESTER COMMUNITIES SIGN RENEWABLE CONTRACTS FOR 90,000 HOMES — The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph De Avila: A group of 17 Westchester municipalities has signed an energy contract that is the first of its kind in New York state. Sustainable Westchester reached the two-year agreement with Con Edison Solutions to supply 90,000 homes and small businesses with electricity at a fixed rate generated from wind, solar and hydro projects. http://on.wsj.com/1QLR88X

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing 61 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity, New York’s nuclear energy plants are a necessary and valuable part of the state’s energy mix, and deserve the support of state lawmakers for their role in providing New York with reliable electricity while protecting the environment. Learn more: NuclearMatters.com. **

AROUND NEW YORK:

--LIPA’s debt-issuing sister authority last week completed the sale of $636.7 million of bonds, the latest in a series of refinancings that the utility says has saved it hundreds of millions of dollars, Mark Harrington reports in Newsday. http://nwsdy.li/1p8Z6BP

--U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Wednesday proposed a $100 million federal grant program to help test for lead in school drinking water. http://politi.co/1W9QMge

--The personnel committee of the LIPA board of trustees will recommend that Tom Falcone, the utility’s finance chief, be appointed chief executive officer. http://nwsdy.li/1QI3GSb

--The Watertown Daily Times looks at tax breaks for wind projects. http://bit.ly/1R7O9H6

--A state judge ruled that ATVs are not allowed on public roads. http://bit.ly/1R7OXvD

--The Urban Green Council’s Russell Unger looks at what lessons New York City can learn from green building practices in other cities. http://bit.ly/1R8m5cW

--National Grid says its customers have been paying less for electricity because of the warm winter. http://bit.ly/1p9ecqX

GOOD THURSDAY MORNING: Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB

WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL BOARD: SANDERS UNREALISTIC ON FRACKING: “There is perhaps no neater example of the differences between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) than their disagreement on fracking, which emerged in Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate. Ms. Clinton aimed for the liberal end of the middle ground that exists on the issue. Mr. Sanders ran as far and as fast as he could from that middle ground. Mr. Sanders’s position would be more understandable if he had the better point on the policy. But, as is often the case, his statements were more firmly grounded in ideology than reality.” http://wapo.st/1TJuxjM

PRIVATE WELLS HOLD LEAD RISKS AS WELL — Reuters’ M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer: “Across the country, millions of Americans served by private wells drink, bathe and cook with water containing potentially dangerous amounts of lead, Reuters reporting and recent university studies show. Researchers from Penn State Extension and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, tested private well systems in their states and found that 12 percent of wells in Pennsylvania and 19 percent in Virginia had lead levels exceeding the maximum EPA threshold for public water systems.” http://reut.rs/1Ufl7uv

OIL TRAIN OPERATOR SAYS FOSSIL FUELS ARE ‘PROBABLY DEAD ’— The Canadian Press’ Ross Marowitts: “People need to get their heads around the idea that fossil fuels are "probably dead," the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway said Wednesday. "I'm not maybe as green as I should be but I happen to think the climate is changing (and) they're not going to fool me anymore," Hunter Harrison told a J.P Morgan transportation conference in New York. The veteran rail executive said the transition to alternative fuels will be long, but new investments in traditional energy sources will dry up because of environmental hurdles.” http://bit.ly/1nxKbjx

KERRY: NO NEED FOR U.S.-CANADA PIPELINE — CBC News: “Months after his department denied permission for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says there's no urgent need for a new Canada-U.S. pipeline. ‘We have some 300 pipelines, it's not as if we're pipeline-less,’ Kerry told CBC News Network's Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton in an interview that covered topics ranging from climate change, refugees, the fight against ISIS and both countries' relationship with Russia. ‘The reality is we will be pumping oil and gas for some years to come, but all of us, every country, needs to move as rapidly as feasible ... to a low carbon footprint.’” http://bit.ly/1phg6qq

TWITTER DELETES API TWEETS — The Wall Street Journal’s Georgi Kantchev: “Twitter deleted posts that included market-sensitive data from a U.S. oil-industry group after the group complained, roiling the tight-knit energy-trading community on the social network. The American Petroleum Institute recently sent a notice to the social network, alleging that several users had tweeted its weekly data on U.S. oil-inventory levels without authorization, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The documents show that Twitter has removed at least one post by an oil trader, and other users said that they have also been informed by Twitter that their tweets were deleted after complaints from API.” http://on.wsj.com/1QEH2ce

JAPAN ORDERS NUKE TO SHUT — The New York Times’ Jonathan Soble: “A court in Japan ordered one of only two nuclear power plants operating in the country to shut down on Wednesday, citing insufficient safety measures put in place after meltdowns at a facility in Fukushima five years ago. The plant, Takahama Nuclear Power Plant, had been back online for only two months after an extended freeze on atomic power in Japan in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. Japan’s government and its power companies have struggled to get the nuclear industry back on its feet.” http://nyti.ms/1phitti



FUTURES:

“Oil prices surged to a three-month high Wednesday after government data showed demand for gasoline and diesel fuel was far higher than even bullish expectations,” Timothy Puko writes in the Wall Street Journal. http://on.wsj.com/1W9eOIf

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: New York’s existing nuclear energy plants provide 61 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity and play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. Additional premature retirements of safe, reliable nuclear energy plants mean New Yorkers would pay more for electricity, the economy would suffer and we would face substantially higher carbon emissions.

New York has taken an essential step forward to address the premature closures of our nuclear energy plants. The proposed development of a Clean Energy Standard by the Public Service Commission would, for the first time, ensure that existing nuclear plants are valued for their carbon-free attributes.

We urge the state to include all of New York’s existing nuclear energy plants, regardless of their geography in the state, in the proposed Clean Energy Standard. All nuclear energy facilities bring significant reliability and clean-air benefits to New York. Learn more: NuclearMatters.com. **

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