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POLITICO New York Energy: New power plant proposed -- City Council wants more money for solar -- Pressure mounts over CPV

By Danielle Muoio and Marie J. French | 04/11/2018 09:59 AM EDT

NEW POWER PLANT PROPOSED — The Record's Scott Fallon: "A California company is seeking state approval to build one of the largest power plants in New Jersey, a $1.5 billion natural-gas-fueled generating station in the Meadowlands that would send its electricity to New York City. Called the North Bergen Liberty Generating Project, the proposed plant would rival PSEG's mammoth Bergen Generating Station in nearby Ridgefield for electricity output, at 1,200 megawatts. It would be transported via underground cable to Manhattan, where it could power as many as 1.2 million households. Local officials said it could be an economic boon and a high tax ratable. Environmentalists say it would be a blot on the recovering Meadowlands and could stall efforts to expand renewable energy in New Jersey. The project by Los Angeles-based Diamond Generating Corp., a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi, would be built on a 15-acre parcel near Railroad Avenue on the banks of Bellman's Creek in an industrial section of town. The company still has to buy the property, used currently by a demolition company but already zoned for a power plant." Read more here.

CITY COUNCIL WANTS MORE MONEY FOR SOLAR — POLITICO's Danielle Muoio: The New York City Council requested that the mayor's office set aside close to $800 million to accelerate solar development. The Council submitted its response to the fiscal 2019 preliminary budget today, calling for additional capital funding for solar installations on city property and control plans for sewage overflow. If the changes are added and signed into law, the new budget allocations would go into effect in July. The Council is requesting that the administration add $789 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services capital budget to increase the pace of solar installations on city buildings. The city is behind on its One City: Built to Last plan, which mandates that the city install 100 megawatts of solar on buildings by 2025. "To date, the City has installed approximately ten megawatts on its buildings," the City Council wrote in its budget response. "Considering the relatively small scale of solar installations, the Council believes this funding will allow the City retrofit non-solar ready rooftops at a faster pace, as well as exceed the original goal of 100 megawatts." Read more here.

PRESSURE MOUNTS TO REVOKE CPV PERMIT — The Journal News' Thomas C. Zambito: "The environmental group Riverkeeper is joining officials in demanding the state revoke an air-quality permit issued to the operators of a natural gas plant linked to a former Cuomo Administration aide convicted of federal bribery charges. In a letter to the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Riverkeeper and state and Orange County officials claim information revealed at the trial of Joseph Percoco demonstrates that Competitive Power Ventures is 'unsuitable' to hold permits in New York. 'That information shows that CPV knowingly engaged in a scheme to bribe New York State officials during the time that the permit was under consideration by the state,' the letter says. CPV is building a 678-megawatt natural gas plant in Wawayanda it hopes will help fill a hole in the state's energy grid that will be left when the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan shuts down in 2021." Read more here.

GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING: Let us know if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dmuoio@politico.com and mfrench@politico.com.

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AROUND NEW YORK:

— Seven finalists were chosen for NYPA's $2.5 million Reimagine the Canals Competition, including a team that wants to develop accommodations for recreational canal users and one that is focusing on potential winter uses of the canal.

— PSEG Long Island will install an osprey nesting platform in Riverside this week after the power authority removed a nest it said was a fire hazard, leaving a pair of birds without a home.

— As the deadline approaches for Orange and Rockland customers to be reimbursed for food and medicine spoilage that occurred during the March nor'easters, the company said those customers would automatically get their bills reduced.

— Seneca Nation leaders hailed a decision Monday by a municipal board in Pennsylvania as a victory for the Allegheny River watershed and its residents.

— Five of the healthiest watersheds outside the Adirondacks are located in Cattaraugus County — in and around Allegany State Park.

— The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association wants the PSC to extend the comment period on the draft environmental impact statement for offshore wind procurement, arguing for hearings on Long Island.

— NYSERDA will be supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development awards with grants for new construction targeting net-zero energy buildings. The money will come from the Clean Energy Fund and awards on Long Island, which isn't eligible, may be paid for through RGGI.

— Clayton officials need a cost estimate from National Grid for burying its overhead utility cables to complete a budget for a historic district reconstruction project.

— New York's two U.S. senators are demanding answers from New York State Electric and Gas about its delayed response to last week's windstorm.

ACROSS THE RIVER:

— Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat, said EPA chief Scott Pruitt should resign, calling him the "the poster child for the Trump administration's shameful culture of corruption."

— PJM filed two competing proposals to reform its capacity market to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

—ICYMI: The FERC says PSEG made false statements over a nine-year period.

— COLUMN: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should study wear-and-tear at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant before it's decommissioned.

SENATORS CAST DOUBT — The New York Times' Lisa Friedman: "An assessment of threats aimed at Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, conducted by the agency's Homeland Security office in February, undercuts claims made by Mr. Pruitt's security team to justify millions of dollars in security expenditures, according to an internal document obtained by a Senate Democrat." Read more here.

— POLITICO reports: EPA removed a career staffer Tuesday who approved an internal report that undermined Pruitt's claims that he needed around-the-clock bodyguards and other expensive security protection, according to two former agency employees familiar with the situation. Read more here.

EPA STAFF QUESTIONED PRUITT ROLLBACK — POLITICO's Alex Guillén: Career EPA officials complained that Pruitt was spreading "inaccurate" information and relying on a blog post "full of errors" last year when he criticized the agency's Obama-era auto emissions rules, according to newly released emails. Read more here.

CALIFORNIA SUES TRUMP — Los Angeles Times' Patrick McGreevy: "California's clean-air board and its attorney general have sued the Trump administration to challenge as illegal the repeal of a policy that requires major sources of air pollutants, including oil refineries, to permanently take action to reduce their emissions, officials announced Tuesday." Read more here.

— Separately, CARB says a deal with the Trump administration over fuel economy and emissions standards is still doable.

TRUMP ETHANOL MOVES BAD FOR FARMERS — Bloomberg's Mario Parker: "Based on his own back-of-the-envelope calculations, Minnesota farmer Kirby Hettver could lose tens of thousands of dollars of earnings because of President Donald Trump. But damaging as the brewing trade war with China may turn out to be for Hettver and other American soybean farmers, he says the greater financial impact could come if Trump moves ahead with changes to the U.S. ethanol mandate, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS." Read more here.

REPURPOSING ABANDONED WELLS — Greentech Media's Justin Gerdes: "Definitive estimates are hard to come by, but according to one study, there could be at least 2.7 million inactive oil and gas wells in the United States. What if some of them could be used to store energy? That was the question posed by Michael Campos at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit held last month in Washington, D.C." Read more here.

GRAPHENE BATTERY IMPROVEMENTS — Bloomberg's Tim Loh: "Remember graphene? The advanced material -- made up of a lattice of carbon atoms -- may be poised for a comeback, albeit a quiet one, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Julia Attwood said in a presentation at the BNEF Future of Energy Summit on Tuesday." Read more here.

QATAR-EXXON SHALE DEAL — The Wall Street Journal's Sarah McFarlane and Bradley Olson: "Exxon Mobil Corp. is in talks with Qatar over a partnership that could see the Middle Eastern nation owning U.S. gas, people familiar with the matter said." Read more here.

EU PUSHES U.K. ON ENVIRONMENTAL RULES — Bloomberg's Ian Wishart: "The U.K.'s trade agreement with the European Union must ensure there's no reduction in environmental standards after Brexit, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said as he warned Britain could otherwise seek a 'competitive advantage.'" Read more here.

To view online:
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-energy/2018/04/11/new-power-plant-proposed-052589

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