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POLITICO New York Energy: Analysis predicts difficulty closing nuclear plants; Croci backs Caithness II

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York energy policy news throughout the day, please contact us at newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access. We’ll send the same newsletter to non-Pro subscribers at 10 a.m. Thank you for reading.

ANALYST: CUOMO MAY BE FORCED TO SAVE NUCLEAR PLANTS — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have to keep the state’s struggling nuclear power plants open because of the revenue and jobs they generate for local municipalities and the pollution-free energy they provide, an independent analysis has concluded. “We suspect New York could well attempt to bolster efforts to support its fleet of smaller nuclear plants amidst a focus to both maintain the property tax and job base associated with the plants,” Julien Dumoulin-Smith, an analyst at UBS, the global investment firm, wrote to investors. Some of the plants have been losing millions of dollars because of an influx of cheap, natural gas. http://politi.co/1JCmxcD

CROCI BACKS CAITHNESS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: State Sen. Tom Croci on Wednesday voiced his support for the Caithness II power plant on Long Island, joining the fray over on-island power production. "I was a former town supervisor down here on the South Shore of Long Island during Superstorm Sandy," Croci said in an interview after a rally near the proposed plant in Yaphank. "I just don't think we can depend, when things get bad on things coming from off the island." http://politi.co/1IL6o0x

AROUND NEW YORK

--Columnist: NY’s electricity market is a scam: “If you agree with legislators in about half the states that the most efficient way to provide electricity is through wholesale auctions, take a leap down the rabbit hole into world of the New York Public Service Commission” http://bit.ly/1LUTzZe

--Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a rare summer trip to Albany on Wednesday to fete former Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Joe Martens at the governor’s mansion. http://politi.co/1JNhzuW

--Con Ed customers feeling comfy: Bill Sanderson reports that utility bills for typical Con Ed customers were flat in July compared to last year. http://bit.ly/1IL7sl7

--A Niagara Falls plastics manufacturer that threatened to leave the state will get $1 million from the New York Power Authority to build a new factory. http://bit.ly/1EC6n4r

--Josh Fox has a new short film called “Gasworks” coming out soon. http://bit.ly/1LLXpRm

--Former assemblyman Jerry Kremer says New York needs more transparency around the Reforming Energy Vision plan. http://bit.ly/1FjIWYd

--Natural Gas Now does a different calculation of Cuomo’s rosy claims about upstate. http://bit.ly/1fVZ1N3

--A Saratoga fuel distributor secured a contract to supply compressed natural gas for a Western New York grocery chain. http://bit.ly/1IL7vxm

SWEET THURSDAY: Please let us know if you have stories, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB

OBAMA HAS THE VOTES — The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman: “Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland on Wednesday came out in support of President Obama’s Iran nuclear accord, the 34th Democrat in favor. Her decision gives Mr. Obama the votes needed to assure the deal will survive a congressional challenge. ‘Some have suggested we reject this deal and impose unilateral sanctions to force Iran back to the table. But maintaining or stepping up sanctions will only work if the sanction coalition holds together,’ Ms. Mikulski, the longest serving female senator in history, said in a statement. ‘It’s unclear if the European Union, Russia, China, India and others would continue sanctions if Congress rejects this deal. At best, sanctions would be porous, or limited to unilateral sanctions by the U.S.’” http://nyti.ms/1NYzUak

OBAMA SPREADS RENEWABLES IN ALASKA — The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin: “The White House announced Wednesday that it would launch a $4 million initiative to speed the development of renewable energy in remote Alaskan communities, part of a package of new programs aimed at reducing fossil fuel use and countering climate impacts in the region of the world that is warming the fastest. The issue of high-cost energy is an acute one in this area of Alaska, where shipping in diesel and gas by barge means residents pay far more to power their homes and run their vehicles than Americans in the lower 48.” http://wapo.st/1NYAwN7

WHY SHELL WANTS TO DRILL IN ARCTIC — Vox’s Brad Plumer: “Shell is moving forward, trying to drill an exploratory well in Arctic waters this summer. As global warming has melted away sea ice in the region, Shell has set its sights on the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which may contain up to 22 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. But it's a risky bet. Shell won't produce oil here for at least a decade — and even that's far from certain. The area features violent storms, massive waves, and drifting ice floes, making drilling treacherous. Worse still, a large oil spill here could be a nightmare to clean up. So here's a closer look at why Shell is going to such extreme lengths for oil, why Obama gave it the green light, and how this drilling project acquired such outsize significance in the climate and energy debate.” http://bit.ly/1KsjY0c

CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION WRITES STRONGLY WORDED LETTER TO EPA — POLITICO New Jersey’s David Giambusso: Gov. Chris Christie touted his opposition to President Obama's clean-power plan on Wednesday after his commissioner of environmental protection sent a strongly worded letter to the federal Environmental Protection Agency requesting a stay of the rules. Christie, who is polling far behind his fellow Republican presidential candidates, cited the clean-power plan — which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power generators — as an example of government overreach as he tries to distinguish himself from his national rivals. http://politi.co/1ILdZw9

KOCH FUND ANTI-RENEWABLE LECTURER — Topeka Capital-Journal: “A University of Kansas lecturer testified at a Senate hearing in 2014 against Kansas’ renewable energy standards after a KU institute he leads received thousands of dollars from a Koch Industries-funded foundation to conduct research on the standards, emails show. Art Hall, a KU lecturer and director of the university’s Center for Applied Economics, wrote in a Nov. 25, 2013, email that the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation had agreed to spend $40,000 in 2013 on the center’s payroll. Hall said in an interview that donors — whether it is a Koch-funded foundation or anyone else — ask him to answer questions, but that he reports only on what he can prove with evidence.” http://bit.ly/1Xg218S

BENNET BACKS EXPORTS — Fuel Fix: “Another Senate Democrat has signaled his support for exporting U.S. oil — as long as it is part of a broader clean energy plan. The declaration from Sen. Michael Bennet came during the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit, when the Coloradan was asked if he backed oil exports. ‘In the context of being able to move us to a more secure energy environment in the United States (and) a cleaner energy environment in the United States, yes,’ Bennet said.” http://bit.ly/1ILc9vb

CARBON PARACHUTE — InsideClimate News: “A report released Wednesday examining the pay practices of the 30 largest publicly held U.S. oil, gas, and coal companies concluded that pay incentives for the companies' chief executives encourages reckless behavior and is hastening a climate crisis. In the analysis, all 13 oil exploration and production companies examined by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) tied executive bonuses to increasing the amount of proven carbon reserves each year.” http://bit.ly/1ILarKg

FRIGHTENING GLACIER VIDEO OF THE DAY: The Washington Post provides a video of a large swath of iceberg breaking apart in Greenland. http://wapo.st/1ILb6eS

OP ED: CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES HIJACKED BY BIG OIL: David Jenkins of the group Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship argues in an opinion piece published by The Hill, that the fight against renewable energy is out of step with core conservative principles, namely independence and free markets. “The attack dogs in this war — all of which have ties to Koch industries and include Americans for Prosperity (AFP), American Energy Alliance (AEA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — frame their attacks as a defense of the free market and fiscal conservatism. Yet even a cursory examination of their positions reveals they’re not defending the free market, but attempting to protect the fossil fuel industry from competition.” http://bit.ly/1ILdjqI

ON THE BAYOU — Bloomberg: “Cheniere Energy, based in Houston, has spent more than a decade, and upwards of $20 billion, turning 1,000 acres of swamp into the first LNG export terminal in the continental U.S. When the terminal goes live later this year, it will change the dynamics of the energy market in North America. The U.S. will be on its way to becoming a net exporter of natural gas. About 700 million cubic feet of the stuff will begin arriving each day from all over the country—from Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and as far away as North Dakota—to this spot at the end of America’s natural gas pipeline network.”

WASHINGTON SUES FEDS OVER NUKE WASTE TANKS — The Associated Press: “Washington state is suing the federal government again over cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation — this time over the danger posed to workers by vapor releases from underground waste-storage tanks. In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the U.S. Department of Energy has known about the problem of vapors sickening workers at the site since the late 1980s, but it hasn't fixed it. There were more than 50 reports of workers being exposed to vapors between January 2014 and April 2015.” http://nyti.ms/1IL8pdc

BUMPY RIDE FOR COAL — Bloomberg: “U.S. coal stocks are on their bumpiest ride in five years. The historical volatility of U.S. coal stocks has reached the highest level since March 2010. After their shares fell more than 90 percent, miners including Arch Coal Inc. andPeabody Energy Corp. touched off a two-week rally that abruptly ended Tuesday when they slid as part of a wider sell-off in the stock market.” http://bloom.bg/1ILbKJj

FUTURES:

--Oil settles higher after crazy day: Timothy Puko of the Wall Street Journal reports oil settled higher after a lot of ups and downs.

“Light, sweet crude for October delivery settled up 84 cents, or 1.9%, to $46.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 94 cents, or 1.9%, to $50.50 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Both have made gains in four of the past five sessions, with the U.S. benchmark up 21% and Brent up 18% from the six-year lows they hit Aug. 24.” http://politi.co/1IL9Ubh

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