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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Entergy writes down FitzPatrick; paying for shuttered plants

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 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.

ENTERGY WRITES DOWN $1 BILLION ON OSWEGO NUCLEAR FACILITY—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The operators of a nuclear power plant in Oswego County are writing down more than a billion dollars in value as they reduce their footprint in the Northeastern energy marketplace. By the end of the month, Entergy is expected to announce whether or not it will close the James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear facility, about 35 miles outside of Syracuse. On Friday, the company revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it would take a $945 million impairment charge against its third-quarter earnings for the FitzPatrick plant, which employs 600 in the region and provides $17 million in annual tax revenue. The company will also take a $677 pre-tax earning impact for its Pilgrim plant in Massachusetts, according to the SEC filing. Entergy announced this week that Pilgrim will close by 2019.

BILL WOULD COMPENSATE COMMUNITIES FOR LOSS OF POWER PLANT—POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: A new bill would provide assistance for communities where fossil fuel-burning power plants are shut down. The bill was recently introduced by Democratic senator Marc Panepinto of Buffalo. It would provide $19 million to compensate communities for the loss of power plant to replace lost tax revenue. It’s not clear how far the money will go. The state faces of wave of closure of power plants, largely because of aging infrastructure, increased air pollution rules and competition from natural gas. Despite three days of attempts, Panepinto refused to discuss the bill he introduced.

FOAM WARS HEAT UP IN NYC — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Opponents of a city ban on polystyrene are hoping to capitalize on a recent legal victory over the de Blasio administration with a mailer encouraging the city to commit to a recycling program proposed by the Dart Container Corp. "Currently, there is a plan sitting before City Hall that could recycle 100% of the city's 58,000 tons of foam and rigid plastics," the mailer states. "The plan offered to Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner Garcia could recycle 100% of the city's foam and rigid plastic waste, not just the 20% previously banned by the Mayor" The dust-up stems from Mayor Bill de Blasio's ban earlier this year of polystyrene, or foam, food and beverage containers.

--Westchester Assemblyman joins the fray: The Daily News reports Assemblyman Tom Abinanti “has written legislation that would make it illegal for restaurants to use the Styrofoam containers when diners ask to take leftovers home.”

FRACKING FIGHT LINGERS IN NY—Gannett’s Jon Campbell: “When Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration first said it would ban large-scale hydraulic fracturing, it was hailed as a victory for vocal environmentalists and fracking opponents and a stunning defeat for the natural-gas industry. Now, 10 months later, gas companies are still weighing whether to sue ahead of a fast-approaching deadline. And fracking critics aren’t taking any chances, even as some shift their focus to other states and different sectors of the energy industry. “New York’s ban has really been embraced by not only the advocacy community, but elected officials around the world — from the local, state and national level,” said Julia Walsh, an organizer with New Yorkers Against Fracking and Frack Action. “If it’s not safe for New York, it’s not safe for ‘X’ country or ‘X’ state.”


--Big day for LIPA: The LIPA board takes up rate hikes today. Newsday’s Mark Harrington reports not all trustees are on board with the state-recommended hike.

--The New York State Laborers’ Union, which has 40,000 members, endorse the Finger Lakes gas storage project.

--A new solar farm is coming to the Ithaca area.

--A Schenectady County solar farm is the larger type that are becoming more commonplace.

--General Electric has done enough cleaning of the Hudson River, but environmentalists aren’t ever going to be satisfied, argues Matthew Hennessey in City Journal.

--It snowed in Oswego: National Grid was out cutting icy branches. Winter is coming, New York.

HAPPY MONDAY: 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. Here’s a handy sign-up link:

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 62% of America’s carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. The industry also supports more than 475,000 jobs nationally and provides critical tax revenue locally for roads, schools and other public priorities. Learn more at **

RICO INVESTIGATION OF EXXON GAINS SUPPORT: Just weeks after a group of scientists requested the Department of Justice investigate Exxon under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, The New Republic reports Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested the same. In a letter to the DOJ last week legislators wrote Exxon’s alleged coverup of what they knew about global warming, "is similar to cigarette companies that repeatedly denied harm from tobacco and spread uncertainty and misleading information to the public." Big Tobacco was successfully sued under the RICO act. The calls to DOJ come after two exhaustive investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times into Exxon’s extensive research and knowledge of global warming and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The L.A. Times investigation cames from a team of reporters that included our own Katie Jennings.

IRAN DEAL BEGINS TO TAKE HOLD — Reuters: “The United States approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran on Sunday, though it cautioned they will not take effect until Tehran curbs its nuclear program as required under a historic nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14. 'Today marks an important milestone toward preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and ensuring its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward,' President Obama said in a statement. In a memo, he directed the secretaries of State, Treasury, Commerce and Energy 'to take all necessary steps to give effect to the U.S. commitments with respect to sanctions described in (the Iran deal).'”

STORAGE PICKS UP IN CALIFORNIA — GreenBiz: “Early September, Energy storage developer Stem aggregated a fleet of behind-the-meter (BTM) energy storage systems and successfully bid into the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) real-time energy market as participants in PG&E’s new supply-side pilot. This accomplishment marks the first occurrence of aggregated, customer-sited storage participating in California’s real-time energy market, marking a major milestone in the evolution of distributed energy resources (DERs) and their role in the electricity grid of the future.”

BIG OIL ROLLS OUT THE AL GORE—Bloomberg’s Mark Drajem: “Climate change has a new evangelist: Big oil. In its bid to roll back government mandates for the use of biofuels, petroleum producers have run out a series of arguments: It harms engines; it raises food costs; it’s bad for boats; and the mandate is government interference in the economy. To persuade President Barack Obama to abandon ethanol, the oil industry and its allies will try a new television advertising pitch, starting today: Ethanol is worse for the climate than gasoline. ‘Mandating corn for ethanol doubles greenhouse-gas emissions compared to gasoline over 30 years,’ according to a new television advertisement sponsored by an odd-bedfellows group of refiners, environmentalists and chain-restaurant owners. ‘Mounting scientific evidence has revealed the inconvenient truth: Increasing ethanol mandates can actually make things worse.’”

WORST OF OIL DROP NOT YET OVER—Bloomberg’s David Wethe: “Three months ago, the head of Schlumberger Ltd. thought the industry had seen the worst of the U.S. oil rout. Not anymore. Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard said in July that a recovery might begin by the end of the year. Now it looks like it will be 2017 before a recovery kicks in, Kibsgaard said in a conference call with analysts Friday after Schlumberger reported a 49 per cent drop in third-quarter profit. ‘The market is underestimating how long this period is going to take,’ Kibsgaard said on the call. ‘Just the fact that the industry is looking to again reduce investments when we have this significant pending supply impact coming, shows we have an increasing challenge.’”

THE COMING CALIFORNIA GREEN BOOM—OilPrice’s David Forest: “Renewable-energy developers, take note. There's a new spot on earth leading the way for projects in solar, wind, and other sources of green power. California. That's because of a new bill, signed into law late last week in the state, mandating a massive buildout in renewable power capacity in a very short time frame. The bill, S.B. 350, calls for California's utilities to move toward acquiring half of their electricity from renewable sources. And the state's power generators will have to work quickly — they're required to achieve this renewables goal by 2030.”

ISIS TRYING TO HACK ELECTRICAL GRID—CNN Money: “The Islamic State is trying to hack American electrical power companies -- but they are terrible at it. U.S. law enforcement officials revealed the hack attempts on Wednesday at a conference of American energy firms who were meeting about national security concerns. "ISIL is beginning to perpetrate cyberattacks," Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the Department of Homeland Security, told company executives. Investigators would not reveal any details to CNNMoney -- or cite evidence of specific incidents. But they did say the attacks by the Islamic State have been unsuccessful. Terrorists are not currently using the most sophisticated hacking tools to break into computer systems and turn off or blow up machines.”

NEW ENGLAND GETS A BREAK ON HEATING COSTS — The Associated Press: “New England is getting another break on heating oil prices this winter, with potential savings of hundreds of dollars per customer, providing breathing room for a region with some of the nation’s highest energy costs. But some officials worry lower prices will lead to complacency on efforts to improve efficiency. Low oil and propane prices already have made it more difficult for gas distribution companies that are trying to expand their service areas in the region. Sales of energy-efficient automated pellet furnaces also have flagged because of lower oil prices.”

HEDGE FUNDS BULLISH ON OIL — Bloomberg’s Mark Shenk: “Hedge funds increased bullish oil wagers on speculation that falling investment will diminish the global supply glut.

Money managers boosted their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 6.6 percent in the week ended Oct. 13 to the highest level since June, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Shorts, or bets that prices will decline, dropped the eighth time in nine weeks.”


--Oil had a good Friday: Lower drilling activity helped boost oil futures Friday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for November delivery settled up 88 cents, or 1.9%, to $47.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 73 cents, or 1.5%, to $50.46 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.”

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America’s existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America’s carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. The industry also supports more than 475,000 jobs nationally and provides critical tax revenue locally for roads, schools and other public priorities.

If we want to keep America working, we need policymakers to support policies that will keep safe and reliable nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Voice your support for sensible policies that drive our national economy and join us **

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