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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
NYSERDA BOARD MEMBER CALLS FOR REVIEW OF SUNY DEAL—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: When the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority planning board met this week on a plan to transfer a valuable piece of property to SUNY Polytechnic Institute for $1, one member questioned the wisdom of signing off on such a deal, given the timing — and wondered whether it would stand up to extra scrutiny. With federal prosecutors already probing state contracts, board member Kenneth Daly asked, "is it worth having an independent opinion on this particular issue?” New video released Thursday by NYSERDA showed Daly voicing his concerns to a draft contract between the state authority and the real estate arm of SUNY Poly that POLITICO New York first reported is trying to acquire a nearly 300-acre parcel near the GlobalFoundries chip fab in Saratoga County. SUNY Poly called the transfer of the property part of a previous commitment. http://politi.co/1NPQTLF
DEMO PROJECTS PREVIEWED — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Two new demonstration projects as part of the state's "Reforming the Energy Vision" were previewed during the first day of a two-day conference REV conference in Midtown Manhattan. The "REV4NY exchange" is a series of panels and breakout sessions with state, utility and industry representatives discussing various technical elements and themes of REV, a regulatory redesign of the state's energy grid. Among the various facets of the process is a series of demonstration projects meant to show how utilities can work with smaller, third-party companies, many of them start-ups, to test how utilities can shift their business models in the new energy economy envisioned by state regulators. Officials previewed two new projects with Con Edison and PSEG Long Island Thursday. http://politi.co/1G5Gkh1
--It will be years before the effectiveness of the REV program is known, but the state is making progress, GreenTech Media writes. http://bit.ly/1G5LSbf
CLEAN ENERGY TRAINING CENTER IN ALBANY—Albany Times Union’s Ken Crowe: “SUNY Polytechnic Institute envisions building a $12.5 million training center for clean energy companies that would generate growth along the city's waterfront, university officials said Wednesday. The Rensselaer Clean Energy Deployment Center would be erected on part of the 24-acre De Laet's Landing site on the Hudson River by Fuller Road Management Corp. to "create a cluster of clean energy companies in the community." The hub is the first hint of what SUNY Poly envisions for the prime development site in the city since May, when SUNY Poly President Alain Kaloyeros met with Mayor Dan Dwyer to tour De Laet's Landing. Hundreds of jobs could result from the project as private investment is attracted, according to Michael Fancher, executive director of the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.” http://bit.ly/1KCrkZ6
**A message from Professional Women in Advocacy Conference: Register today using code POLNY and receive $25 off the Professional Women in Advocacy Conference, November 16-17 in Washington DC. The theme for 2015 is The Modern Advocate. Join 400 women advocates to learn techy tips to improve your advocacy effectiveness. Register Here **
AROUND NEW YORK:
--The state’s independent grid operator will evaluate the effect of taking two Western New York coal-burning coal plants off the grid by the end of next month. http://politi.co/1JsonJC
--The South Bronx is burning fuel at two peaker plants run by NYPA and local residents want to shut them down. The DEC is determining if the residents will be granted a public hearing. http://dnain.fo/1OWAc1L
--Debates! The New York League of Conservation Voters will host debates for Town Supervisor and Town Board in East Hampton and Southold. Topics will include nitrogen overload, wastewater treatment, coastal resiliency, natural resource protection, and modernizing the energy grid. The East Hampton debate will be Saturday, September 26th from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Amagansett Free Library, 215 Main Street; Amagansett, NY 11930. The Southold debate will be Monday, September 28th from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2050 Depot Lane; Cutchogue, NY 11905
--General Electric’s chief technology officer and head of global research in Niskayuna is retiring. http://bit.ly/1YEcmfm
--Niagara County will put solar panels on county buildings. http://bit.ly/1izakfH
--The Pope addresses the UN this morning: We will be here all day covering the Pope’s New York City tour starting with his address to the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations. Stay tuned. http://politi.co/1jg3zjF
HAPPY FRIDAY: Please let us know if you have stories, ideas, complaints or even if you're just lonely. We're always here at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB
CHINA AND U.S. AGREE TO EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS—The New York Times’ Coral Davenport and Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “President Xi Jinping of China will make a landmark commitment on Friday to start a national program in 2017 that will limit and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, Obama administration officials said on Thursday. The move to create a so-called cap-and-trade system would be a substantial step by the world’s largest polluter to reduce emissions from major industries, including steel, cement, paper and electric power. The announcement, to come during a White House summit meeting with President Obama, is part of an ambitious effort by China and the United States to use their leverage internationally to tackle climate change and to pressure other nations to do the same.” http://nyti.ms/1R4cL5U
FRACKING FIRMS THAT DROVE OIL BOOM NOW STRUGGLING—The Wall Street Journal’s Alison Sider: “A wave of bankruptcies and closures is sweeping across the oil patch, with dozens of hydraulic-fracturing companies at risk, industry experts say. Most of the companies that help oil-and-gas explorers drill and frack wells are small, privately owned and just a few years old. They are part of a flood of new entrants in the energy business—one that is drying up as oil prices languish below $50 a barrel. One of the latest casualties is Pro-Stim Services. Launched in 2011 with backing from Turnbridge Capital LLC, a private-equity firm, the company did work for oil-and-gas producers eager to coax more fuel out of the ground in places like Texas and Louisiana.” http://on.wsj.com/1Wk2qFQ
FRANCIS ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE BEFORE CONGRESS—POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia: “Pope Francis challenged members of Congress on Thursday to play a constructive role in healing the planet, sending a message to Republicans that climate change is a serious problem that requires a "courageous" response. In his address to a joint meeting of Congress, the pope did not mention "climate change" by name, but he quoted at length from his June encyclical on the environment, known as "Laudato Si" or "Praise Be To You," which focused largely on the threat of global warming.” http://politi.co/1NPRv3K
SOLAR LEASING ISSUES—Greentech Media’s Julia Pyper: “How much will I save each month by putting solar panels on my roof? What’s the payback period for my system? How long is my lease? These are questions even the greenest consumers are likely to ask, and they are at the core of new efforts to enhance consumer protections in the solar industry. The industry has been grappling with the issue since last year, when a group of lawmakers from Texas and Arizona sent letters to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) claiming that solar leasing companies may be engaged in deceptive sales tactics that merit federal investigation. “As a very new industry with a limited track record and little regulator oversight, the solar leasing market may pose a considerable risk to the increasingly large numbers of American consumers that commit to the leasing product (not to mention the American taxpayer, who heavily subsidizes each rooftop solar project),” reads one of the letters.” http://bit.ly/1MsNtfW
TESLA AND SOLARCITY AT ODDS OVER NET METERING—EnergyWire’s Anne Mulkern: “Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp. consider themselves partners. On the issue of energy storage, however, they're in an uncomfortable marriage. Tesla wants to expand the battery storage market and has launched a new arm to pursue that aim. When it opens its Gigafactory now under construction in Nevada, the electric vehicle company plans to dedicate up to a third of production for grid-connected storage systems that SolarCity and others will market. But a position of SolarCity and other solar partners clashes with that vision. Solar companies have been pushing in California to protect net metering, the policy that allows those with rooftop photovoltaics to earn electricity bill credit for excess power sent to the grid. It's a benefit available in some form in 44 states.” http://bit.ly/1QyCH8V
GERMANY’S COAL LESSONS—Vox’s Annett Mieritz: “In the small town of Gräfenhainichen in East Germany, you can now dance on abandoned coal mines, with retired machines serving as the backdrop for occasional music festivals. These machines will never operate again, a casualty of Germany's effort to move away from coal and transition to a low-carbon economy. Since the 1990s, successive German governments have set ambitious goals to go fossil fuel free. The country currently gets more than 26 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. By 2050, it aims to bump that ratio up to 80 percent. Making this task even more challenging, Germany wants to get there without relying on nuclear power. After the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, the country reiterated its commitment to phasing out all its existing reactors.” http://bit.ly/1MscOqr
SEND IN THE DRONES—National Geographic’s Wendy Koch: “Thousands of massive wind turbines are popping up all over the world. Often taller than the Statue of Liberty, their stature makes the blades difficult to inspect. The answer? Send in the drones. This month, unmanned aerial vehicles will fly over orchards and farmland in Mason County, Michigan to inspect three towering turbines in the Lake Winds Energy Park, owned by Consumers Energy, a public utility. Equipped with cameras and sensors, they’ll do what’s often done by workers in helicopters or on ropes. Drones, long used by the U.S. military to drop missiles on targets, are increasingly eyed for other uses. Hollywood is using them to film movies, and Amazon wants them to deliver packages. Now, they’re poised for takeoff in the energy industry. Oil and gas companies as well as utilities are testing them to inspect pipelines, power lines, wind turbines, and solar farms.” http://bit.ly/1iyQ7GZ
--Oil prices gain as inventory drops: It’s as simple as that, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled up 43 cents, or 1%, at $44.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after wavering between gains and losses throughout the session. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 42 cents, or 0.9%, to $48.17 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.” http://on.wsj.com/1jfYh7Q
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