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POLITICO New York Energy: Nuclear vs. natural gas; group wants details on FitzPatrick sale

10/24/2016 10:00 AM EDT

By David Giambusso and Marie J. French

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Energy newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the energy news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

LAWSUIT BRINGS RIVALRY BETWEEN NUCLEAR, NAT GAS INTO SPOTLIGHT - The Times Union's Brian Nearing: "A challenge by natural gas power plant owners to a multibillion dollar state subsidy for nuclear plants revealed a tug of war between nuclear and gas interests that has been playing out behind the scenes in a New York climate change program. Gas plant owners sued [last] week to block a new state subsidy... Now that it has gotten its lifeline subsidy, the nuclear industry appears to be seeking further advantage. Filings with the state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which limits climate-changing emissions from power plants, show the state's largest nuclear energy company is urging changes to the program that could raise costs on competitors in the natural gas plant industry. Officials in New York and eight other Northeast states are reviewing potential changes to the eight-year-old RGGI program, which was spearheaded by former Gov. George Pataki. So far, New York has collected nearly $1 billion from selling state-issued RGGI (pronounced Reggie) credits to power plant owners."

CONSUMER GROUP WANTS DETAILS OF ENTERGY'S GUARANTEE - The Syracuse Post-Standard: "A consumer group is asking federal energy regulators to help disclose the details of New York's $35 million agreement to backstop a state-brokered sale of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant. Public Citizen filed the request Thursday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is reviewing the proposed sale of FitzPatrick."

NEW YORK CITY HALL HIRE: Luis ("Lou") Mendes will take over as the Department of Design and Construction's deputy commissioner for housing recovery, directing all activities for the city's "Build it Back" Sandy recovery program, the city will announce today. Mendes previously worked as executive director of design, construction and facilities for the September 11 Memorial and Museum.

AWARD: The New York Association of Public Power gave the 2016 "Wallace L. Duncan Public Power Award" to Rep. Paul Tonko for a "longstanding commitment to consumer owned electric utilities in New York."


--National Grid agreed to cleanup the site of a former manufactured gas plant in Gloversville.

--Some 43North competition companies funded by the New York Power Authority remained in Buffalo.

--Transmission upgrades will allow New York to access more Canadian hydropower.

--First wind energy farm in Oswego County proposed by Avangrid Renewables.

--Tesla installs electric vehicle chargers at a QuickCheck gas station in Kingston.

--A PSEG Long Island crew rescued a kitten that found itself suddenly atop a utility pole.

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:

CLINTON TEAM DEBATED A ROLE FOR STEYER - POLITICO's Andrew Restuccia: The Clinton campaign briefly debated giving Tom Steyer a formal role in the campaign before deciding against bringing the billionaire environmentalist on board, according to hacked emails released today by WikiLeaks. [federal Pro]

TRUMP'S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a speech at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg on Saturday. Among his goals, should he get elected, will be to stop sending money to the United Nations for environmental programs.

CHEROKEE DONATE TO DAKOTA OPPONENTS - The Associated Press: "The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has donated $10,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to support its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Cherokees say they presented a check last week in addition to providing three truckloads of firewood for those camping out to protest construction of the pipeline."

--83 people were arrested while protesting the pipeline in North Dakota on Saturday, CNN reports:

CLIMATE LESSONS FROM CLINTON EMAILS - POLITICO's Elana Schor: The WikiLeaks emails have yet to produce any disclosures big enough to shake up the presidential race, but they are revealing the remarkable extent to which Hillary Clinton's advisers focused on addressing climate change as an urgent problem without promising too much. [federal PRO]

CLIMATE FRIENDLY COOLANT HAS RISKS - The New York Times' Danny Hakim: "Dr. (Rajiv) Singh, a scientist at Honeywell's lab in Buffalo, began running computer models of tens of thousands of molecular combinations. He was seeking a better refrigerant, one of the most vexing chemicals for the environment. Refrigerants cool homes, cars and buildings but also warm the planet at a far higher rate than carbon dioxide. Dr. Singh was searching for one stable enough to be useful but that degraded quickly so it did not linger to trap heat in the atmosphere."

ALGAE POWER - The Times of India: "Scientists are developing inexpensive, energy-efficient lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles by using silicon-based anodes made from the fossilized remains of single-celled algae called diatoms."

SUSTAINABLE BEER - Salon's Ethan Fixell: "Brewers across the country have begun integrating beer production into larger, self-sufficient ecosystems on working farms, and by doing so, are taking greater control of the brewing process from start to finish. This wave of farm-to-bottle brewing isn't just great for the environment - it's great for beer connoisseurs, too."

PROTECTING ANTARCTIC WATERS - Reuters' Ben Gruber: "After repeated failed attempts to establish an Antarctic Ocean sanctuary, the United States is hopeful it can sway Russia to agree to a plan that would protect a vast swath of what marine scientists call the most pristine body of water left on Earth. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is meeting in Hobart, Australia, in a bid to find consensus for a deal to conserve and manage the marine ecosystems in the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean."

OP-ED: ONTARIO'S GREEN BANK SHOULD LOOK TO OTHERS - Marc Ruttloff and Jonathan Weisz for The Globe and Mail: "When the Ontario government unveiled its Climate Change Action Plan in June, a largely overlooked element at the time - the intention to establish a green bank - could prove to be one of its most important initiatives. Unfortunately, Ontario seems to be unduly limiting itself when it comes to learning best practices from other jurisdictions that already have green banks."

ICYMI: NEW 'PROPAGEDDON' FRACKING TECHNIQUE BOOSTS OUTPUT - Bloomberg's Joe Carrol and David Wethe: "The era of the monster frack has arrived in North America, and Chesapeake Energy Corp. is singing its praises. Chesapeake said Thursday at an analyst conference that it set a record for fracking by pumping more than 25,000 tons of sand down one Louisiana natural gas well, a process the shale driller christened 'propageddon.'"

BANKRUPTCY NOT SLOWING FOSSIL FUEL PRODUCTION - The Wall Street Journal's Timothy Puko and John W. Miller: "Their owners may be bankrupt, but the sprawling mines of Wyoming's Powder River Basin are still churning out coal. It is the same story in oil fields along the Gulf Coast and with shale-gas wells in the Rocky Mountains. Energy investors have long hoped that falling prices would solve themselves by driving producers into bankruptcy and stanching the flood of excess supply. It turns out that while bankruptcy filings are up, they have barely impacted fossil-fuel markets."

UP IN SMOKE - The Wall Street Journal's Anatoly Kurmanaev from Punta de Mata, Venezuela: "This fading oil town has an eerie glow at night, illuminated by dozens of oil wells burning off precious oil and gas for lack of functioning equipment to process it. Every month, Punta de Mata's smoke columns grow higher, a staggering waste at a time when Venezuela, the holder of the world's largest oil reserves, desperately needs cash from every barrel to import scarce food and medicine."


--Oil prices rose Friday despite a strengthening dollar, The Wall Street Journal reports.

--Natural gas fell to a two-week low Friday on supply concerns, the Journal reports.

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