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POLITICO New York Energy: NY beating NJ in offshore wind; watchdog backs Daly for SUNY contract questions

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.

NEW YORK BEATING NEW JERSEY IN WIND RACE — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's announcement last week that it would auction 344,000 acres of ocean off the coast of New Jersey for wind power should have been met with enthusiasm by clean energy advocates and environmental groups. Instead, it served only as a reminder that offshore wind development has languished in a bureaucratic mire for the better part of Gov. Chris Christie's tenure and critics say it will likely remain there until he leaves office. About 50 miles to the northeast, however, clean energy developers and state policymakers are expressing increased optimism over the future of wind power off the New York coast. While Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have bent over backwards to tout their similarities on offshore wind, there is a stark divide between the two neighboring states and the two governors. http://politi.co/1O5cwJA

STATE WATCHDOG: STATE BOARD RIGHT TO QUESTION SUNY POLY DEAL—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The head of the state’s independent Authorities Budget Office said a board member of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority was acting appropriately when he questioned a $1 land transfer deal. “From what I have seen, the NYSERDA committee is acting appropriately,” Michael Farrar, acting director of the Authorities Budget Office, said on Monday. Last week, Kenneth Daly, head of National Grid’s New York operation, said NYSERDA might need an independent opinion before it could transfer the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park, a 300-acre property in Saratoga County near the GlobalFoundries chip-manufacturing factory, to SUNY Polytechnic Institute. The board committee tabled a motion to transfer the property after an executive session and it’s not clear when, or if, the exchange will happen. SUNY Poly then issued a statement attacking Daly, calling him “misguided.” http://politi.co/1KOPUqv

--Kenneth Daly wasn’t the only NYSERDA board member to raise questions about the land deal with SUNY Poly. http://bit.ly/1jrMiUJ

--Solar panel factory builder under microscope: Michael Gormley of Newsday reports, “The selection process that awarded a state contract to build a $900-million solar panel factory in Buffalo to a major campaign contributor of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo included some actions that have drawn questions and the interest of federal investigators, according to records and interviews.” http://nwsdy.li/1O5dyoS

DPS RATE PLAN SETS UP PSEG SHOWDOWN — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Following months of public testimony and political outcry, the head of the state Department of Public Service delivered her final recommendation to the Long Island Power Authority on a three-year rate hike for the region, potentially setting off a showdown with PSEG Long Island. Audrey Zibelman, head of the state Department of Public Service, recommended that LIPA pare back a rate request from PSEG — the utility contracted by LIPA to provide power to Long Island and parts of Queens — by 26 percent from its original rate request. If the authority approves the recommendation, it will be in breach of contract, PSEG Long Island has suggested. http://politi.co/1O5coJZ

REPORT: BUILDINGS GETTING MORE EFFICIENT — POLITICO New York’s Sally Goldenberg: Buildings throughout the world are consuming less energy, using less electricity and reducing their carbon emissions, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the Urban Land Institute's Greenprint Center. The organization pulled data from 5,224 properties throughout 51 countries, totaling 1.2 billion square feet, according to the 64-page study. All types of properties were included, such as office, industrial, residential, retail and hotel. http://politi.co/1O5cVM7

STUDY: STORM RISK RISING IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY — The Record: “A new study looking back over 1,000 years finds the flooding risk along the New York and New Jersey coasts increased greatly after industrialization, and major storms that once might have occurred every 500 years could soon happen every 25 years or so. The study by Penn State, Rutgers, Princeton, and Tufts universities, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, finds that flood heights have risen nearly 4 feet since the year 850, largely because of a sea level rise. The study advocates better risk management strategies to cope with storms. It was released a month before the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the coasts of New York and New Jersey.” http://bit.ly/1O5dVjf

AROUND NEW YORK:

--Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman has submitted public comments to the federal Environmental Protection Agency calling on its reevaluate General Electric’s cleanup of the Hudson River, where the company dumped cancer-causing chemicals for about 30 years. http://politi.co/1iXCPVj

--NYPA CEO Gil Quiniones says the state-run company will be the “most innovative and advanced utility in the U.S. in a very short period” due to massive investments and its commitment to facilitate the remaking of the industry in the state. http://bit.ly/1MCqQWI

--A Syracuse University professor found that fracking does not contaminate water sources. http://bit.ly/1MC0dB5

--A wildfire is spreading in the Adirondacks. http://bit.ly/1Vj2GI8

--Innovation Trail’s Jenna Flanagan looks at the state’s aging coal plants. http://bit.ly/1FEhkCB

--General Electric is bringing intelligent lamp posts that collect data and take photos to New York City. http://dnain.fo/1GccLdL

--GE is moving jobs from Wisconsin to Canada as part of its snit about the Ex-Im bank. http://on.wsj.com/1KLvbD0

--Billions are needed to fix New York’s aging water pipes. http://bit.ly/1MCq2kw

--The New York Post editorial board claims de Blasio’s styrofoam ban was struck down by science. http://bit.ly/1KGPxQU

--Christie moves on gas tax: Giambusso reports the New Jersey governor signaled room for negotiation on the state’s gas tax. http://politi.co/1O5d0za

--Solar firm revealed for Niagara project: The Buffalo News reports, “an Amherst company may be the vendor and power producer for an elaborate solar energy deal with Niagara County. Solar Liberty Energy Systems would be given the right to make a 20-year power purchase agreement with the county after installing three large arrays of solar panels on county land in Lockport, Cambria and Wheatfield.” http://bit.ly/1O5dRzZ

GOOD TUESDAY MORNING : 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

SHELL BACKS OFF ARCTIC DRILLING PLAN—Vox’s Brad Plumer: “For years, many people thought Shell's efforts to drill for oil in the treacherous Arctic Ocean would end in disaster. More shipwrecked rigs, perhaps, or a nightmarish spill that proved impossible to clean up. But on Monday, Shell announced that it was abandoning its controversial Arctic drilling plans for a much more prosaic reason: the company simply hadn't found enough oil and gas to justify further exploration "for the foreseeable future." At this point, Shell has spent at least $7 billion buying up leases and trying to drill exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, north of Alaska. It's a remote and forbidding environment, with dangerous ice floes and frequent storms. But geologists believe there could be up to 40 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil beneath these waters, enough to supply the entire United States for five years.” http://bit.ly/1QJhFUZ

FROM FRACKING BOOM TO FRACKING DOOM—Forbes’ Stephen Gandel: “An analyst says one-third of the companies could be bankrupt by the end of next year. Doomsday may finally be coming to the fracking industry. Despite the big drop in oil prices in the past year, there have been relatively few bankruptcies in the energy industry. That may be about to change. James West, an energy industry analyst at ISI Evercore, says months of low activity have left many of the companies in the hydraulic-fracturing business either insolvent or close to it. He says as many as a third of the fracking companies could go bust by the end of next year.” http://for.tn/1iGsiNg

TWEET OF THE DAY: Today’s semi-daily tweet of the day comes from our own Azi Paybarah who snapped a pic of electric cars powering up near Police Plaza and quipped, “Getting charged near #NYPD headquarters.” http://bit.ly/1Gd7DpB

MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS BELIEVE CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSED BY HUMANS—The New York Times’ Coral Davenport: “A majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-described conservative Republicans — believe the world’s climate is changing and that mankind plays some role in the change, according to a new survey conducted by three prominent Republican pollsters. The results echo a number of other recent surveys concluding that despite the talk of many of the party’s candidates, a significant number of Republicans and independent voters are inclined to support candidates who would back some form of climate action. It may also point to a problem facing Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination: The activists who crowd town hall meetings and Republican presidential caucuses and primaries might not reflect the broader attitude of even the Republican electorate.” http://nyti.ms/1QJ6tb9

GOP’S CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL—Opinion by New York’s Jonathan Chait: “Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science. Indeed, the Republican Party stands alone in its conviction that no national or international response to climate change is needed. To the extent that the party is divided on the issue, the gap separates candidates who openly dismiss climate science as a hoax, and those who, shying away from the political risks of blatant ignorance, instead couch their stance in the alleged impossibility of international action.” http://nym.ag/1Wsjdqv

CLIMATE SCOREBOARD: Climate Interactive has developed this whiziwig graphic to show how much the planet has committed to lowering the Earth’s temperature and how much it needs to commit. There’s a significant gap, as you may have guessed. http://bit.ly/1GcT99r

GOOGLE MAKING ROBOT CARS MORE RECKLESS: Responding to complaints that their self-driving cars were following the rules of the road too rigidly, Google is now programming them to be more aggressive, by edging into intersections, crossing double yellow lines in cutting corners, the Wall Street Journal reports. The New Jersey models will likely also be programmed to cross medians, swerve over multiple lanes to exit the turnpike and risk life and limb to get in the shortest EZ-Pass line. http://on.wsj.com/1O5da9X

WATER ON MARS: The New York Times reports NASA has confirmed that water is flowing on Mars, increasing speculation that life may exist there. http://nyti.ms/1O5gFNB

NO END IN SIGHT TO OIL DECLINE — The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman: “Oil bulls can’t catch a break. The long-awaited decline in U.S. oil output has begun, data show, but many investors and analysts are still waiting for prices to stage a sustained recovery. The rapid growth in America’s production over the past several years was a major driver behind the plunge in the benchmark U.S. oil price, which is down 53% from a year ago. Once that output slowed, oil would bounce back, bullish investors reasoned. But their hopes have been thwarted by robust output from other parts of the world, from Russia to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, that has kept a lid on prices.” http://on.wsj.com/1O5dh5i

FUTURES:

--You guessed it. Oil fell: The Journal reports oil futures declined on continued excess of supply.

“Light, sweet crude for November delivery, the front-month contract, fell $1.27, or 2.8%, to $44.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a two-week low. The global Brent contract lost $1.26, or 2.6%, to settle at $47.34 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.” http://on.wsj.com/1O5dl52

--Natural gas gains on heating demand: After declining from slackening demand for air conditioning, natural gas picked up as chilly temps raise demand for heating.

“The most actively traded November contract gained 1.4% to settle at $2.67 million British thermal units, with the market rising 3.5% in recent days as the first signs of cool weather have emerged.” http://on.wsj.com/1O5dqpk

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