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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY): NYPA's renewables pitch; Menendez bucks Iran deal

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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NYPA’S PATH TO LARGE SCALE RENEWABLES—POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: The state's attempt to develop large-scale renewable energy projects has set off a battle between private power generators that want the free market to build the resources and utilities that want to own their own generation for the first time since the 1990s. The New York Power Authority, in a filing with the Public Service Commission last week, offered a third option: With its ability to bond for large-scale projects, it believes it can act as a procurement agent—and do so by soliciting bids from the private market. "NYPA believes that the role of the central procurement entity, and in fact one of the most important goals of the State in putting forth these policy options, should be to attract and maximize competition among private capital investors," the agency wrote in its filing. NYPA argues that if anyone knows how to do large-scale renewable energy in New York State, it does.

MENENDEZ REJECTS IRAN DEAL—POLITICO New Jersey’s David Giambusso: Citing a deep distrust of Iran's intentions and insufficient safeguards against its nuclear ambitions, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez rejected President Obama's nuclear accord with Iran and said he would work to override a presidential veto if Congress rejects the deal. "It would be far easier to support this deal, as it would have been to vote for the war in Iraq at the time. But I didn't choose the easier path then, and I’m not going to now," the New Jersey Democrat told more than 400 people at Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations in South Orange. Menendez, a frequent critic of Obama's foreign policy, said the deal is far too conciliatory and allows Iran too much relief from crippling economic sanctions without proper verification of its nuclear program.

-- John Harwood of The New York Times argues that polarization in Congress will likely allow the Iran deal to go through, though.

** A message from IPPNY: Join us for Power Source, our 30th Annual Fall Conference on September 22 at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs! It’s never too late to sign up as a sponsor! Check out our sponsorship opportunities! **


--Hundreds of unused oil train cars sit unused in Hinsdale, thanks to plummeting oil prices worldwide. The Olean Times Herald reports.

--A 3-megawatt solar array at Dutchess County Airport was approved by the county legislature’s environment committee this week.

--Don’t tell Brad Lander: A single-use plastic bag ban in Austin, Texas, is causing people to throw away reusable bags at an alarming rate, according to an analysis in Bloomberg View. Councilman Lander has been pushing hard for a plastic bag fee to discourage their use in NYC.

GOOD WEDNESDAY MORNING: Please let us know if you have stories, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. We're always here at and And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one.

ABOUT THOSE METHANE RULES—POLITICO’s Elana Schor: “The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled out a proposal to curb the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions that it billed as the latest step in a more ambitious plan to curtail the sector’s emissions. The next step remains a mystery. EPA said Tuesday that its proposed rules are expected to reduce methane leaks from oil and gas fracking operations by 30 percent by 2025 compared to 2012 levels. That’s about two-thirds of the way toward the goal President Barack Obama outlined in January, to cut oil and gas methane emissions by between 40 and 45 percent over the next decade. But the methane rules will not be finalized until at least next year, and it is unlikely that EPA would have time to complete additional ambitious regulations on the oil and gas sector before the president leaves office.” [PRO]

CLINTON BREAKS WITH OBAMA ON ARCTIC—POLITICO’s Elana Schor and Brianna Ehley: “Hillary Clinton distanced herself Tuesday from President Barack Obama’s decision to approve offshore drilling in the Arctic—a move that quickly brought her attack from the GOP but may shore up her support among skeptical environmentalists. ‘The Arctic is a unique treasure,” the Democratic front-runner wrote on Twitter. “Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk.’ The message was signed ‘H.,’ indicating Clinton’s personal endorsement. GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush quickly bashed Clinton’s stance. ‘Wrong,’ he tweeted back at her. ‘Being more-anti energy than Obama is extreme. We should embrace energy revolution to lower prices & create US jobs.’ And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped on Clinton’s continued silence on the most divisive environmental controversy of Obama’s presidency, his six-years-and-counting deliberation on whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. ‘Still waiting to hear your position on Keystone,’ Christie told Clinton on Twitter. ‘#AnswerTheQuestion’” [PRO]

SANDY RECOVERY STILL A MESS—The New York TImes’ David Chen: “With a Sept. 15 deadline less than a month away, only about 11,000 eligible homeowners have asked FEMA to look again at their cases, a number that several advocates describe as ‘scary low.’ The anemic numbers are the latest testament to the bureaucratic morass that has gripped so many of Hurricane Sandy’s victims. Some have been suspicious of FEMA’s letter, which seemed to suggest that a new review of their claims could function like an audit, and potentially force them to repay the government. But most say, with an air of resignation and frustration, that they no longer have the energy to fill out more papers and to deal with more layers of officialdom, even though it could mean forsaking tens of thousands of dollars. They are simply spent.”

REPORT: METHANE LEAKS MUCH WORSE THAN THOUGHT—The New York Times’ John Schwartz: “A little-noted portion of the chain of pipelines and equipment that brings natural gas from the field into power plants and homes is responsible for a surprising amount of methane emissions,according to a study published on Tuesday. Natural-gas gathering facilities, which collect from multiple wells, lose about 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year, about eight times as much as estimates used by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The newly discovered leaks, if counted in the E.P.A. inventory, would increase its entire systemwide estimate by about 25 percent, said the Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the research as part of methane emissions studies it organized.”

BIG OIL TARGETS STEYER—Bloomberg: “Oil companies that bankrolled a $9.7 million effort in 2014 to block laws against fracking in California now are focusing their sights on Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge- fund founder turned climate-change activist. The top individual political donor in the United States last year, Steyer has put millions of his $2.7 billion personal fortune into the cause, hired Gov. Jerry Brown's former top spokesman and challenged Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Watson to a public debate on gas prices. In its campaign against him, Californians for Energy Independence—whose contributors include Chevron, Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.—has been probing possible conflicts between Steyer's business interests and legislative advocacy, attacking him in press statements as a ‘billionaire super-PAC king" and shadowing his public appearances.’

MARCELLUS LENDING WOES—Bloomberg: “For Aubrey McClendon, it was the perfect time to tap debt markets: he had parted ways with Chesapeake Energy Corp., energy prices were climbing and high-yield investors were willing to lend to just about anyone. That was just over a year ago. A few months after the shale pioneer piled on borrowings to fund his fledgling new empire at American Energy Partners, a plunge in oil and gas prices shattered McClendon’s plans to cut debt through growth, leaving investors in the lurch. A secured loan sold by one of his ventures in the Marcellus shale region has cratered to about 32 cents on the dollar. Now, rock-bottom energy prices are making some fields unprofitable to drill, eroding cash needed to service debt and fund future exploration, and giving little hope for McClendon’s investors to recoup losses.”

CALIF. LEADERS CALL FOR CLEAN JOBS OVERSIGHT—The Associated Press: “California lawmakers from both parties are calling for more stringent oversight of a clean jobs initiative after an Associated Press report found that a fraction of the promised jobs have been created. The report also found that the state has no comprehensive list to show much work has been done or energy saved, three years after voters approved a ballot measure to raise taxes on corporations and generate clean-energy jobs.”

MUSLIM SCHOLARS CALL FOR PHASEOUT OF GHG EMISSIONS—The Associated Press: “Muslim scholars and environmental advocates from about 20 countries on Tuesday called for a global phase-out of greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, joining a chorus of religious leaders urging the world to take strong action against global warming. Participants in a seminar in Istanbul said it was the first declaration of its kind from Islamic leaders, a voice many say has been missing from the debate on global warming. The move comes two months after Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and other environmental issues and ahead of a key U.N. climate conference in Paris in December, where world leaders are supposed to adopt a landmark agreement to fight climate change.”

COLOMBIA, EUROPE CALL FOR MORE GHG EMISSIONS: Bloomberg reports that Colombia is all about the coal, thanks to European demand. “Despite concerns over global warming and advances in renewable energy technologies, many European countries continue to rely on coal to make electricity, presenting an opportunity for Colombia, UPME Director General Jorge Valencia said.”

UGANDAN ELECTRIC CARS TAKING OFF—The Wall Street Journal: “Each prototype car that rolls off Kiira Motors Corp.’s assembly line moves Chief Executive Paul Isaac Musasizi closer to his dream of building Africa’s first homegrown family of electric vehicles. The electrical engineer says his factory on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital [Kampala] annually could build 7,000 of its EV Smack sedan and a 37-passenger van by 2018. ‘We are on course,’ Mr. Musasizi, 36 years old, says as he surveys a prototype of a navy blue coupe in the factory yard. ‘We have already sidestepped many hurdles.’ Yet a lot of roadblocks remain, including shortages of reliable power, roads, and production financing. Mr. Musasizi’s project will test whether up-and-coming African companies can overcome the hardships that have dogged manufacturing on the continent for so long.”


--Oil picks up steam: The Wall Street Journal reports oil picked up slightly after settling at a six-year low Monday, but the global picture is not pretty.

“Light, sweet crude for September delivery gained 75 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $42.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $48.81 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

--Natural gas cools: Cooler weather forecasts and high supply depressed natural gas prices Tuesday.

“Futures for September delivery settled down 2.4 cents, or 0.9%, to $2.7040 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It is the lowest settlement since July 8 and puts gas near the bottom of a 25-cent range it has settled within every session for more than two months.”

** A message from IPPNY: Have you registered for Power Source: Evolution of Energy Policies and Emerging Technologies? Join us as we hear updates from Audrey Zibelman, Chairman of the New York Public Service Commission, and Gil Quiniones, President & CEO of the New York Power Authority, on the State’s Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding and other energy initiatives.IPPNY conferences offer excellent opportunities to speak directly to decision makers in New York’s energy industry. Be part of this year’s conference and benefit from networking opportunities and productive dialogue on how to best achieve our mutual energy goals! IPPNY conferences regularly attract well over 100 energy industry executives, policy makers and members of the financial and legal communities. To make sure you are part of the discussion, Register Today! **

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