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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: $1 renewables; REV challenges

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.

ANALYSIS: RENEWABLE PLAN EXPANSION TO ADD $1 TO MONTHLY BILL: New Yorkers will see an increase of less than 1 percent on their utility bills as the renewable industry expands dramatically to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of having half the electrical grid powered by renewables by 2030. On Friday, the state Department of Public Service released long-awaited cost estimates on the state’s mandate to power half of the electrical grid with clean energy by 2030 and to preserve upstate nuclear facilities. The cost of doubling the share of clean energy that powers the electrical grid will add up to about $1 per month for the typical residential customer in the near term, according to the state.

CHALLENGES OF REV—Watertown Daily Times’ Allan Rizzo and Ted Booker: “While Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy was presented in the State of the State and budget address this year with commitments to eliminate coal emissions by 2020, the strategy, now about two years old, has attracted criticism from those who feel the governor’s administration has set unrealistic goals...But while conservationists have supported the REV strategy, some north country experts working on projects under REV aren’t so sure that its goals can be met as projected.”

SOLARCITY SECURES $188M IN FINANCING — Bloomberg: “SolarCity Corp., the most prolific installer of rooftop panels in the U.S., obtained financing to support about $188 million in solar projects. The investment will cover the costs of equipment and installation. Bank of America Corp. and an undisclosed backer provided the tax-equity investment, SolarCity said in a statement Thursday. In tax-equity deals, clean-energy developers with little or no taxable income sell portions of their projects’ tax credits to investors who can apply the credits to their own tax bills.”


--Ohio Governor John Kasich said New York is “completely crazy” to not allow fracking.

--An anti-fracking, pro-Bernie Sanders rally drew 1,000 people in Kingston on Saturday, and Bernie wasn’t even on the bill.

--Fracking is an issue to watch in the New York primary contest, according to Gannett’s Jon Campbell.

GOOD MONDAY 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: **

TOO MUCH SOLAR POWER IN CA?—Vox’s David Roberts: “The US has no national electricity grid. Instead, it has a patchwork of grids, operated as closed-off regional and local fiefdoms, with little trade among them. One of the most important steps America can take to integrate more wind and solar power is to connect and expand those grids. California is trying to take a small step in that direction. In the process, it is revealing the kinds of political tensions that stand in the way of grid integration.”

NUCLEAR ON THE DECLINE NATIONALLY—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.”

GRID ATTACK COULD HAVE 18 MONTH RECOVERY—Marketplace’s Scott Tong: “In the case of a mass terrorist or cyber-attack on the power grid, it could take 18 months to replace critical pieces of the infrastructure, according to a national research study. So eight of the nation's largest utility companies plan to launch a new company this month to stockpile the most important components of the electricity system. The company, Grid Assurance, plans to start up with initial funds from big utilities, including Duke, Southern, Exelon, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and American Electric Power. These firms already maintain some spare transformers and other critical parts for, say, lightning strikes. But it may not be enough for the biggest threats: terror, cyber, mega-storms, or AK-47 shootings.”

KEYSTONE UP AGAIN AFTER LEAK — The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Molinski: “TransCanada Corp. said its Keystone oil pipeline resumed pumping Sunday after a nearly weeklong shutdown due to a leak discovered in South Dakota. The Canadian company said it has completed repairs to the leak, which caused a spill of about 400 barrels, or 16,800 gallons near the company’s Freeman pump station in Hutchinson County. It said it would initially operate the pipeline at reduced pressure to make sure it is working normally, with aerial patrols and visual inspections of the leak site.”

LNG LOOKS GLOOMY — Bloomberg: "As oil markets look for the green shoots of a price recovery, LNG participants are hunkering down for a long winter. The most influential executives, investors and traders in the liquefied natural gas market will gather in Perth, Australia, this week for the industry’s biggest conference. While Brent oil has surged about 50 percent since hitting a 12-year low in January amid the worst energy crash in a generation, LNG continues its downward slide."

SUBPOENAS FLY FOR CLIMATE DENIERS—Opinion for Bloomberg News by Megan McArdle: “The Competitive Enterprise Institute is getting subpoenaed by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands to cough up its communications regarding climate change. The scope of the subpoena is quite broad, covering the period from 1997 to 2007, and includes, according to CEI, ‘a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information.’”

CORAL REEFS FACING NEW DEVASTATION — The New York Times’ Michelle Innis: “Kim Cobb, a marine scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, expected the coral to be damaged when she plunged into the deep blue waters off Kiritimati Island, a remote atoll near the center of the Pacific Ocean. Still, she was stunned by what she saw as she descended some 30 feet to the rim of a coral outcropping. 'The entire reef is covered with a red-brown fuzz,' Dr. Cobb said when she returned to the surface after her recent dive. 'It is otherworldly. It is algae that has grown over dead coral. It was devastating.'”

IRAQ BOOSTS OIL PRODUCTION AHEAD OF POSSIBLE OPEC CURB — Bloomberg: “Iraq increased crude output to a record level in March, ahead of a meeting in Qatar of OPEC members and other producers on capping production to curb a global glut. Crude output in OPEC’s second-biggest producer rose to 4.55 million barrels a day last month from 4.46 million barrels in February, according to the state-run Oil Marketing Co. Exports increased to 3.81 million barrels a day in March from 3.23 million the previous month, the company, known as Somo, said in an e-mailed statement. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers such as Russia are set to meet in the Qatari capital Doha on April 17 to decide on a possible freeze in crude output in an attempt to shore up prices.”


--Oil was booming Friday: Consensus has gathered around curbs to production and a not terrible economy, sending the price of oil to some of its greatest heights of the year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for May delivery gained $2.46, or 6.6%, to $39.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, settled up $3.27, or 8.5%, at $41.94 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Both had their largest daily gains Friday since mid-February. U.S. oil is up in six of its past eight weeks and Brent is now up in five of the past seven weeks.”

--Natural gas, on the other hand, retreated on continuing fears of a glut according to the Journal.

“Natural gas for May delivery settled down 2.8 cents, or 1.4%, at $1.99 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It finished the week up 3.4 cents, or 1.7%, its fourth week of gains in the past five.”

** 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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