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POLITICO New York Energy: Cuomo makes Hoosick Falls trip; PSEG LI takes over solar loans

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 MAKES FIRST TRIP TO HOOSICK FALLS SINCE PFOA CRISIS STARTED — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his first visit to Hoosick Falls on Sunday, about 100 days after the polluted town water supply blew up into one of the most serious public health crises his administration has experienced. Cuomo, wearing a blue blazer and surrounded by state and local officials in windbreakers, said initial tests of a temporary water filtration system had turned up no PFOA in treated water. At the press conference, given with just two hours notice, Cuomo credited the handling of the response by his administration and said his employees “performed admirably.” Cuomo said he would be frightened if he lived in Hoosick Falls and his family had to rely on the water.

PSEG LI TAKES OVER SOLAR LOAN PROGRAM — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: "PSEG Long Island will take over and enhance a popular financing program for home rooftop solar systems that lets customers pay off the loans through their electric bill. The programs are popular among those who purchase their solar systems rather than lease them, and PSEG plans to make them more attractive by combining short-term bridge loans to cover portions of the loans that are paid back within a year when state and federal tax credits are paid, along with longer-term loans at market interest rates."


--Treyger pushes Con Ed pins: The Brooklyn councilman wants each Con Ed customer to have a unique pin number to avoid increasing scams.

--New York startup leasing wind: CJ Online reports, “A New York startup is pushing into the distributed wind energy market in Kansas and other Midwestern states, backed by significant international dollars and the opportunity for landowners to use third-party financing to tap into wind energy.”

--The price of carbon fell by about a third in the latest Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction, according to results released Friday.

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NEW CLIMATE STUDY — InsideClimate News’ Zahra Hirji: “A new study shows it's now possible for scientists to confidently measure the influence of climate change on some extreme weather events, such as heat waves. In this first-ever assessment of the emerging field of climate science attribution, researchers from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are setting the record straight on how well scientists can currently tease out the climate-change fingerprints of different types of extreme weather.”

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS DEBATE — The Christian Science Monitor: “In 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter published in the Journal of Paris, in which he claimed he was perplexed that the sunrise preceded his own waking time at 6 a.m. If he – and everyone else – rose alongside the sun and went to bed earlier, they would be able to conserve hours of expensive candle use. If the argument for daylight saving was rooted in economics back then, it’s still the case now. The contentious subject in its modern form dates back to the early 20th century, when Germany set its clocks one hour forward in order to conserve energy in the costs of World War I. The US and the rest of Europe followed suit. But today, economics still applies. Depending on the latitude, a person living in a region that observes daylight saving (remember, no 's') could see up to 200 more hours of sunlight a year. And what do people do when the sun’s out? Spend money.”

BP OFF THE HOOK FOR DRILLING LOSSES — The Associated Press: "A federal judge has ruled that BP does not have to pay for economic losses other businesses suffered when the federal government shut down deep-water drilling in the wake of BP's catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued his ruling late Thursday. The Obama administration imposed a six-month drilling ban in the Gulf to prevent another disaster. The offshore industry called the moratorium a costly mistake. The ruling came in a suit brought by six companies involved in offshore drilling, but plaintiffs' lawyers said thousands of similar claims would be affected."

UTAH CONSERVATION FIGHT — The New York TImes’ Jack Healy: "The juniper mesas and sunset-red canyons in this corner of southern Utah are so remote that even the governor says he has probably only seen them from the window of a plane. They are a paradise for hikers and campers, a revered retreat where generations of American Indian tribes have hunted, gathered ceremonial herbs and carved their stories onto the sandstone walls. Today, the land known as Bears Ears — named for twin buttes that jut out over the horizon — has become something else altogether: a battleground in the fight over how much power Washington exerts over federally controlled Western landscapes."

COLORADO DRILLING WOES — The Denver Post: “Quiet is descending on the Wattenberg Field in Weld County — at least compared to the past five years of rapid drilling, constant fracking and heavy truck traffic. 'Basically, there aren't many areas that at $30 a barrel provide rates of return that are adequate to put capital in the ground,' said David Zusman, chief investment officer at Talara Capital Management, a New York private equity firm that invests in energy assets. That includes the Wattenberg, the crown jewel of the surrounding Denver-Julesburg Basin, which has come to account for about 90 percent of oil and gas activity in Colorado. Last year, the D-J Basin seemed to be holding out better than competing prospects. It suffered only a one-third cut in investment and outgunned other areas in winning shares of shrinking capital budgets among the producers that knew it best. But nine of the largest producers active in the D-J plan to invest only half of what they did this year compared with 2015, according to a Denver Post analysis of the guidance those companies provided to investors.”

OP-ED: SAUDI ARABIA’S OIL GAMBIT GOES AWRY — The New York Times’ Andrew Scott Cooper: “In recent years, the Saudis have made clear that they regard the oil markets as a critical front line in the Sunni Muslim-majority kingdom’s battle against its Shiite-dominated rival, Iran. Their favored tactic of 'flooding,' pumping surplus crude into a soft market, is tantamount to war by economic means: the oil trade’s equivalent of dropping the bomb on a rival. In 2006, Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi security adviser, warned that Riyadh was prepared to force prices down to 'strangle' Iran’s economy. Two years later, the Saudis did just that, with the aim of hampering Tehran’s ability to support Shiite militia groups in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. Then, in 2011, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former chief of Saudi intelligence, told NATO officials that Riyadh was prepared to flood the market to stir unrest inside Iran. Three years later, the Saudis struck again, turning on the spigot. But this time, they overplayed their hand.”


--Oil settled up Friday on hopes the global glut was dissipating, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"On Friday, front-month crude for April delivery rose 66 cents, or 1.7%, to $38.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $40.39 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Both contracts are up more than 40% from lows set earlier in the year, but remain down by more than half since June 2014."

--Natural gas also did well on reports of cooler weather on the horizon, the Journal reports.

“Natural gas futures for April delivery were up 3.4% at $1.8220 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, on pace for their highest settlement since Feb. 24. Prices have slumped 60% in the last two years amid surging U.S. production and a mild winter this year that sapped demand, but have now recovered more than 11% since hitting a nadir early this month.”

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