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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Energy policy enters New York primary, Green groups take on PSEG

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.

NEW YORK ENERGY POLICY IN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Hillary on fracking. Bernie on Indian Point. Energy policy in New York has entered the national conversation as the media focus on the state's April 19 presidential primary, one of the most competitive in years. In recent days, the candidates have weighed in on the closure of Indian Point and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fracking ban. Advocates are now making an aggressive push to get the campaigns of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton to come out against the proposed Constitution pipeline.

SENATE ENERGY CHAIR SAYS CANAL CORPORATION TRANSFER NOT FINAL — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The chairman of the state Senate Energy Committee indicated Thursday the transfer of the Canal Corporation to the New York Power Authority, approved last week as part of the state budget agreement, has not been finalized. In an unusual rebuke, Sen. Joe Griffo, a Republican from Utica, said the transfer is dependent upon legislative action by July 1 that would outline the terms and scope of the deal.

NEW JERSEY GREEN GROUP JOINS PSEG CRITICS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: The growing animus over power generation on Long Island has reached the shores of New Jersey. The New Jersey Sierra Club is the latest group to accuse PSEG of pushing for off-island power generation, this time in the form of the Poseidon project, a proposed 78-mile transmission line that would from South Brunswick, New Jersey, to Long Island. The environmental advocacy group joins a host of New York entities that have also accused the utility of forsaking power sources on Long Island in favor of power generated by PSEG in New Jersey, using its role as the Long Island Power Authority's contracted grid operator to boost the company's bottom line.”


--General Electric is installing about 3.3 megawatts worth of solar panels between its Schenectady campus and its North Greenbush site.

--ExxonMobil will pay $10.75 million to the state oil spill fund to reimburse the expense of cleaning up eight sites across New York.

--Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the NYT water tunnel story this week and promptly blamed his staff for not communicating properly. POLITICO New York’s Dana Rubinstein recounts the story.

--The U.S. Navy plans to build a 227-acre solar farm at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, spanning mostly wooded land between Colts Neck and Tinton Falls, the Asbury Park Press reports.

--Buffalo’s potential solar market is ranked fourth nationally in a new study.

GOOD FRIDAY 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:

** 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: **

60 WORLD LEADERS TO SIGN PARIS ACCORD IN NYC — Reuters: “About 60 world leaders will attend an April 22 ceremony in New York opening the period for signatures on last year's Paris climate change agreement, though it remains unclear how many will actually sign the document that day. China and the United States have said they will ink the agreement on April 22 in a step to endorse the 195-nation deal mapping out a shift away from fossil fuels toward greener energies this century. After signing, the deal will require formal approval by at least 55 states representing 55 per cent of world greenhouse gas emissions before it enters into force. China and the United States alone account for about 40 per cent.”

KEYSTONE LEAK ESTIMATE INCREASED 100-FOLD — POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia: “The operator of the Keystone pipeline — the older sibling of the now-defunct XL line — hiked its estimate of a Saturday spill in South Dakota by nearly a hundred-fold as the oil link remained shut down. TransCanada described the ‘potential volume’ of its spill at 400 barrels, up from 187 gallons or 4.45 barrels in the early days of the leak. The updated projection ‘was based on the safe excavation of soil to expose more than 100 feet of pipe,’ the company said in a statement.”

OKLAHOMA QUAKES — The Associated Press: “The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded several small to moderate earthquakes in Oklahoma, including a magnitude 4.0 quake. The temblor was recorded at 5:27 p.m. Thursday, 1 mile north of Luther — or 25 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. The Logan County Sheriff’s Office says no injuries or damage are reported. The quake is one of seven recorded since shortly after midnight. The others range in magnitude from 2.7 to 3.6. The number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes has skyrocketed in Oklahoma, from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year and scientists have linked the increase to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil-and-gas production.”

NEST LOOKING WOBBLY — Vox’s Timothy Leer: “A few years ago, Nest was widely viewed as one of Silicon Valley's brightest stars. Founded by Tony Fadell, a key figure in Apple's iPod team, Nest aimed to produce a line of user-friendly, connected home appliances. Given Fadell's Apple background and Nest's focus on hardware, many people wondered if Nest would become the new Apple. Google was so impressed by the company that it paid $3.2 billion for it in 2014. But since then, Nest has struggled. It acquired Dropcam in 2014 and rebranded Dropcam's flagship security camera as the Nest Cam in 2015.”

FORMER FERC CHAIR JOINING SOLARCITY: SolarCity announced Thursday that former FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff is joining the company as chief policy officer. Wellinghoff served as chair of the federal commission from 2009 to 2013. He will report to CEO Lyndon Rive. Here's the release:

UTICA SHALE DRILLING STILL STALLED — Crain’s Cleveland Business: “As prices for Ohio’s natural gas have struggled sometimes to even break $1 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) over the past two years, drilling activity in the state has gone down more than a little bit. The state had 50 rigs running pretty much around the clock at the end of 2014. Today there are just 12 rigs working eastern Ohio’s Utica shale, Steve Irwin Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman, told the Canton audience.”

RENEWABLES NEED BATTERIES — NPR’s Jeff Brady: “Renewable energy, like solar and wind, is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't blow when we need it to. This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery. Batteries are often used to store solar power, but it can be a costly endeavor.”

RESERVOIR RETURNS TO CALIFORNIA — Climate Central’s Brian Kahn: “Californians, say hello to an old friend. After four years of drought, the state’s largest reservoir is again a reservoir instead of a mudpit. Lake Shasta, located in the northern half of the state, was down to just 29 percent of normal storage capacity as recently as December. But one of the strongest El Niño’s on record has helped steer rain to the reservoir as well as much of the rest of northern California. The result is a sight not seen in quite some time: Lake Shasta is at 109 percent of its historical capacity for this time of year, the first time that’s happened in three years.”

BLANKENSHIP APPEALS — The Associated Press: Former coal company chief Don Blankenship is appealing a case that resulted in a one-year prison sentence. In U.S. District Court in Beckley on Thursday, the ex-Massey Energy CEO filed his notice of appeal to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, Blankenship was sentenced to the maximum penalties of a year in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch Mine.

NUCLEAR LOSING ITS EDGE — NPR’s Brian Mann: “Renewable energy and new technologies that are making low-carbon power more reliable are growing rapidly in the U.S. Renewables are so cheap in some parts of the country that they're undercutting the price of older sources of electricity such as nuclear power. The impact has been significant on the nuclear industry, and a growing number of unprofitable reactors are shutting down. When the first nuclear power plants went online 60 years ago, nuclear energy seemed like the next big thing.”

VENEZUELA ANNOUNCES ‘LONG WEEKENDS’ AMID POWER CRISIS — The Wall Street Journal's Sara Schaefer Muñoz: "Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said the country’s workers will get Fridays off for the remainder of April and May in his latest attempt to save power amid a severe drought and growing energy crunch. In a televised speech Wednesday night, the socialist president said Venezuelans will now have 'long weekends.' 'I call on families, young people, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration,' he said."

INDIA SUPPLANTING CHINA IN OIL DEMAND — Bloomberg: “In the energy world, India is becoming the new China. The world’s second-most populous nation is increasingly becoming the center for oil demand growth as its economy expands by luring the type of manufacturing that China is trying to shun. And just like China a decade ago, India is trying to hedge its future energy needs by investing in new production at home and abroad.”


--Oil drops despite inventory decline: Investors still see no end to production, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for May delivery settled down 49 cents, or 1.3%, at $37.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 41 cents, or 1%, to $39.43 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas surges: Investors think the glut has come to an end, the Journal reports.

“Natural gas for May delivery settled up 10.7 cents, or 2.2%, at $1.911 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It is the market’s largest daily percentage gain of the year and largest dollar gain since Jan. 29.”

** 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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