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POLITICO New York Energy: No water standards -- NYPA bets on battery -- Green asphalt

By Marie J. French and Danielle Muoio | 10/03/2018 09:59 AM EDT

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The New York Energy morning newsletter will not publish on Monday Oct. 8. Our next newsletter will publish on Tues. Oct. 9. Please continue to follow New York Energy issues here.

NO WATER STANDARDS — POLITICO's Marie J. French and Nick Niedzwiadek: The state's Drinking Water Quality Council missed Tuesday's deadline to recommend limits for drinking water contaminants, which have been found in Hoosick Falls, Newburgh and on Long Island. But the state did set a date for a fourth meeting of the advisory group, nearly 200 days after abruptly canceling one in March. The body will meet on Oct. 17, although the announcement did not explicitly say the council's members would vote on recommendations on that date. News of the Oct. 17 meeting was tucked into a press release, under an announcement pertaining to $185 million in state funds available for removing PFOA; the related chemical perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS; and 1,4-dioxane, which has been found on Long Island. The money comes from a $2.5 billion appropriation for pipes, treatment plants, conservation and other water quality projects included in the budget two years ago. The council was established last year in the aftermath of a succession of drinking water crises. It consists of officials at the state Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation as well as outside experts. Citing scheduling conflicts, the council has not met since February. Liz Moran of the advocacy group Environmental Advocates of New York said the delays have been unnecessary. "It's important for the public to remember that the Department of Health could have done this at any time," said Moran. "The minute they found out Hoosick Falls had dangerous levels of PFOA in their drinking water, they could've acted and regulated the very chemical that was polluting their drinking water." Read more here.

NYPA BETS ON BATTERY — by Marie: The New York Power Authority will try its hand at building a 20-megawatt lithium ion battery in the North Country as part of the utility's bulk transmission system. The NYPA board of trustees Tuesday approved an initial $6 million for the project. The $30 million energy storage project planned for a NYPA substation in northern New York will help support renewables on the grid. The battery would charge when prices are negative or low, then sell its electricity on the grid when prices rise, said NYPA CEO Gil Quiniones. Read more here.

— The project is part of NYPA's "moonshot" investment aimed at supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's energy mandates, including the 1,500 megawatt energy storage target for 2030. Doug McMahon outlined the challenges to investment in energy storage and demand response, or flexible resources , because of the regulatory lag limiting revenue streams for such resources despite the value they may provide. "We're really thinking about understanding and proving the operational value to the grid of flexibility technology such as storage and flexibility services," McMahon said. "We then want to identify the best ways to turn that operational value into revenue streams so participants can get compensated and then finally we want to explore the business and financial models that are going to enable us to finance flexibility at scale." Besides the North Country project, NYPA is also investing in a behind-the-meter and a distribution level storage project along with a demand response pilot. McMahon said NYPA executives will bring a four-year plan to the board on investing in "carbon-free flexibility" at the December meeting. McMahon also said on offshore wind the authority expects to publish a public report on a study of European transmission approaches before NYPA's December meeting.

— Chief Financial Officer Bob Lurie provided an update on the authority's electric vehicle plans, saying an analysis of potential sites for fast chargers has finished and a map will be shared with the public when it is completed. The board approved contracts with five companies to build charging infrastructure. Talks with the Port Authority to locate up to 10 chargers at JFK are ongoing. Lurie said NYPA received 45 responses to a request for information from the private sector and is in discussions with companies on that. NYPA is also expecting to get $40 million of the state's $127 million from the Volkswagen settlement and is trying to allocate some for its fast charging investments but Lurie said most will likely go toward electric buses.

— Also at the meeting: NYPA is in excellent financial shape and is on a path to end the year with about $92 million in net income, about $15 million above its budget. The higher income was attributed to better market conditions, higher contracted revenues and more hydro generation. The board also approved several capital investments that support NYPA's digitization efforts.

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. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one they can sign up here.

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GREEN ASPHALT — The Wall Street Journal's Anne Kadet: "If your street is among the 1,322 lane miles getting paved by the city this year, the asphalt was likely produced largely from crushed stone mined from New Jersey quarries and sticky black oil shipped from distant refineries. But not if it came from Green Asphalt. At this Queens startup, asphalt is produced entirely from used pavement milled off local lanes." Read more here.

AROUND NEW YORK:

— Suez customers highlighted the drop in monthly water bills for its New York customers. The decrease was required by the PSC to pass on benefits from the federal tax cut.

— An animal-advocacy group has sued the Bronx Zoo on behalf of the elephant Happy, arguing she is an autonomous being illegally held in captivity.

— A federal major-disaster declaration has been issued for the mid-August flooding that devastated part of the Seneca Lake shoreline and other areas in upstate New York.

— The supervisors of the towns of Somerset and Yates are blasting Apex's upcoming community forum on Lighthouse Wind as "propaganda," saying its restrictions on protests amount to stifling dissent.

— The Chautauqua County Legislature heard from residents who say that wind turbines have affected their health, quality of life and property values.

— EDF Renewables Copenhagen Wind Farm has 36 of 40 wind towers complete, and plans to energize the system in about two weeks.

— A new invasive water flea has been found in Lake Champlain.

— The possible sale of Oyster Bay town-owned parcels purchased in 2006 for preservation was put on hold after the town board on Tuesday tabled a resolution to appraise the property.

— "Orphan programs" that help farmers get into the industry have lost funding after Congress allowed the 2014 Farm Bill to expire, drawing concern from New York representatives.

— The DEC said shuttles will help transport hikers in the Adirondacks during the busy Columbus Day weekend

ACROSS THE RIVER:

— PJM NEWS — The RTO filed its proposed capacity market reforms with FERC.

— Environmental degradation is having a toll on the Camden school district, which must increasingly use state funding to make the physical environment safer instead of paying for new educational programs.

— The EPA has approved a $332 million plan to clean up toxic waste from Berry's Creek in the Meadowlands, rubber stamping one of the largest waste cleanups ever in the state.

— Details of the state's three-year community solar pilot have been released and show that 40 percent of the capacity will be allocated to low-income communities.

— An ultra-rare blue jellyfish washed up on the Jersey Shore.

— A beachfront owner was fined $2,000 for cutting down trees on the dunes in Avalon.

PJM DISRUPTION? DON'T COUNT IT OUT — Brien J. Sheahan, chairman and CEO of the Illinois Commerce Commission, makes the case for leaving PJM to join MISO or create a state-based RTO similar to NYISO in an op-ed for Utility Dive.

— Joseph Fiordaliso, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, has also floated the idea of leaving PJM.

EPA MAY WEAKEN RADIATION LIMITS — The Associated Press' Ellen Knickmeyer: "The EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight." Read more here.

THE PRICE OF CLIMATE CHANGE — The Wall Street Journal's Bradley Hope and Nicole Friedman: "The effects of the planet's slow heating are diffuse. Predictions of the fallout are imprecise, and the drivers are debated. But faced with the prospect of a warming planet, the world of business and finance is starting to put a price on climate change." Read more here.

— Despite the growing threat, climate change still isn't consider a top issue for voters, and few candidates are running on the climate change.

CALI STORAGE COMMITMENT — The New York Times' Ivan Penn and Inyoung Kang: "California wants the sun to power homes day and night. With a measure signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the state has made a new commitment of $800 million for clean-energy technologies including home storage." Read more here.

FLORENCE FAR FROM OVER — The New York Times' Jack Healy, Julia Jacobs, Jacey Fortin and Adeel Hassan: "Two weeks after a storm named Florence barreled into dozens of coastal communities — flooding homes, demolishing buildings, uprooting trees and carving up roads — its wrath and havoc continue, with entire neighborhoods still submerged and streets entirely impassable." Read more here.

PFAS FACTS — NPR's Jeff Brady: "In some parts of the country people are learning their drinking water contains pollution from a group of chemicals called Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These chemicals have been linked to illnesses, including cancer. But a lot of questions remain including how exactly they affect people's health and in what doses." Read more here.

TESLA HITS GOAL — The Wall Street Journal's Tim Higgins: "Tesla Inc. met its third-quarter production goal for its Model 3 sedan but struggled to get the cars to customers, underscoring the operational challenges ahead for Chief Executive Elon Musk and his electric-car company." Read more here.

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