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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: State loses a round on Indian Point; Kauffman wants wind

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.

STATE LOSES ROUND ON INDIAN POINT FIGHT — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The state has lost another round in its legal fight against the Indian Point nuclear facility, with a federal regulator rejecting its effort to force the plant to undergo leak rate tests more often. Indian Point operator Entergy had successfully fought to delay those tests to once every 15 years for the plant's Unit 2 reactor, but the state had challenged that, arguing they should be conducted once a decade. On Tuesday, the federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board upheld an earlier ruling that allowed the less frequent tests. Entergy originally requested the delay in December 2014. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office is considering its legal options, spokesman Doug Cohen said.

--Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called for more oversight of Indian Point.

KAUFFMAN: NEW YORK NEEDS WIND — Bloomberg’s Joe Ryan: “New York will need to tap offshore wind, one of the most expensive sources of electricity, to meet its clean energy goals, according to the state’s chairman of energy and finance. 'We are not going to be achieve our 50 percent goals by 2030 without offshore wind,' said Richard Kauffman, the former chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. who was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to revamp New York’s energy system. Developers have proposed wind farms off the coast of Long Island, which could deliver power to New York City without requiring new long-distance transmission lines.”

NYC’S THIRD WATER TUNNEL DELAYED — The New York Times’ Jim Dwyer: “Mayor Bill de Blasio has postponed work to finish New York’s third water tunnel, a project that for more than half a century has been regarded as essential to the survival of the city if either of the two existing, and now aged, tunnels should fail. The new tunnel has already been completed and is carrying water into Manhattan and the Bronx. But segments that would supply Brooklyn and Queens, home to five million people, though also virtually finished, still await the building of two deep shafts.

** 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: **


--Anti-pipeline protesters traveled to the state Capitol to demand that the Cuomo administration reject the Constitution pipeline.

--Hillary Clinton agrees with Cuomo’s fracking ban.

--A solar panel seller is closing its offices in Syracuse and Henrietta and laying off more than 50 employees because of cheap electricity prices.

GOOD WEDNESDAY 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:

CALIFORNIA WARNS OF EXTENSIVE BLACKOUTS — The Los Angeles Times’ Alice Walton: “State officials warned Tuesday that Southern California could experience as many as 14 days of blackouts this summer due to the massive methane leak in Aliso Canyon. The Aliso Canyon storage facility in the hills above Porter Ranch is at one-fifth of its capacity due to a well leak that began in October. Officials said it could potentially take months to bring it back online, and in the meantime, local power plants will be without a key source of natural gas. Aliso Canyon supplies natural gas to 17 power plants in the Los Angeles basin, including four operated by the DWP. A drop in supply would affect the DWP's ability to get electricity from its natural gas-powered plants, officials said.”

DOCUMENTS REVEAL ELECTRICAL GRID HACKS — CNN’s Jose Pagliery: “Hackers have stolen sensitive information from American energy companies — and have planted malware in the energy grid with the intent to turn off the lights in the future. They even managed to infect at least three energy companies with Cryptolocker ransomware, a particularly nasty computer virus that locks digital files and demands a ransom payment. Newly released documents from the Department of Homeland Security are finally shedding some light on what exactly hackers are doing when they sneak into the American electrical grid. The DHS intelligence assessment — originally dated January 27, 2016 — was published by Public Intelligence, a research project that shares secretive documents to educate people.”

SIGNS ECONOMIES CAN GROW AS CARBON EMISSIONS DECLINE — The New York Times’ Coral Davenport: “Throughout the 20th century, the global economy was fueled by burning coal to run factories and power plants, and burning oil to move planes, trains and automobiles. The more coal and oil countries burned — and the more planet-warming carbon dioxide they emitted — the higher the economic growth. And so it seemed logical that any policy to reduce emissions would also push countries into economic decline. Now there are signs that G.D.P. growth and carbon emissions need not rise in tandem, and that the era of decoupling could be starting. Last year, for the first time in the 40 years since both metrics have been recorded, global G.D.P. grew but global carbon emissions leveled off.”

FOSSIL FUEL ELECTRICITY WITHOUT POLLUTION — Vox’s David Roberts: “Fossil fuel power plants have steadily gotten more efficient, but the problem is, no matter how efficient your plant is, capturing the carbon dioxide emissions involves bolting on a second facility to process and separate the waste gases. That second facility requires power (it's a ‘parasitic load,’ cutting into efficiency), and it adds to capital costs. Coal and natural gas are already losing out to wind in many areas, without sequestration. Once you add sequestration, even as wind and solar are getting cheaper and cheaper, how can fossil fuels with CCS possibly compete?”

KERRY: CLEAN ENERGY WORTH TRILLIONS — The Huffington Post’s Ben Walsh: “Clean energy is the biggest economic opportunity the world has ever seen, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Compared to the initial phase of the tech revolution, he added, clean energy offers far bigger rewards — with a value of many trillions of dollars and billions of potential customers. But money aside, there’s a human cost to ignoring issues like rising sea levels, the harm to human health from burning coal, and disruptions to food and water supplies, Kerry told the audience at Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance conference.”

SUNEDISON CEO CANCELS WHARTON SPEECH — The Wall Street Journal: “SunEdison’s chief executive has canceled plans to speak at a University of Pennsylvania Wharton School graduation ceremony as the company’s financial woes mount. Ahmad Chatila was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at Wharton’s San Francisco executive MBA graduation ceremony on May 7. The prestigious business school offers the program alongside a similar course of study at its Philadelphia campus. A SunEdison spokesman confirmed that Mr. Chatila wasn’t planning to attend the event but declined to comment further.”


--Oil ekes out a win: Futures prices barely managed to settle above water Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The benchmark U.S. oil contract surged into the close of trading, ending the day up 0.5% at $35.89 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after spending much of the day in negative territory. The global Brent contract rose 0.5% to $37.87 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.”

--Natural gas falls despite cold weather: Too much supply is still depressing prices, the Journal reports.

“Natural gas futures ended down 2.2% at $1.9540 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The market has surged nearly 20% since touching a 17-year low in early March, partly fueled by an unforeseen cold start to spring in the eastern U.S. that is expected to drive late-season demand for gas-fired heating.”

** 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: **

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