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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: LIPA raises rates; Kaloyeros empire scrutinized

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.

LIPA FIGHTS, BUT RATE HIKE REMAINS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: After a heated debate Monday, the Long Island Power Authority tacitly approved a $325.4 million, three-year rate hike for its 1.1 million customers on Long Island and in Queens which will likely go into effect next year. The increase amounts to about 5 percent over the three years. Under the LIPA Reform Act, the board of trustees was only allowed to vote on specific problems it found with the state Department of Public Service's recommendation on how much to raise the rates, rather than a straight approval or disapproval. Some board members said they felt constrained by the process and during Monday's regular board meeting, tempers erupted over whether the increase was in the best interest of residents. "I'm outraged by it. I not only don't like it, I don't support it," board trustee Suzette Smookler said. "I'm disappointed at the lack of discretion that this board has to take action on a recommendation."

KALOYEROS EMPIRE SCRUTINIZED — Bloomberg’s Freeman Kloppot: “Over three decades, a man who calls himself Dr. Nano built a $43 billion technology empire with New York taxpayer support, and now it may come tumbling down. It’s a tale that brings together billionaire Tesla Motors Inc. founder Elon Musk, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Alain Kaloyeros, chief of the state’s nanotechnology university and New York’s highest-paid employee. The setting is the remnants of a former Republic Steel plant in Buffalo, and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are watching. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is said to be focusing on construction bids awarded by nonprofit entities Kaloyeros helps run, including one tied to the plant the state is building for Musk’s SolarCity Corp., the largest U.S. rooftop installer of solar panels. There’s no indication that Musk has done anything wrong, but the state development efforts that enabled his planned factory are at the investigation’s heart, according to two people familiar with the probe.Kaloyeros, a 59-year-old veteran of the Lebanese civil war who until recently drove a Ferrari Spider with a “DR NANO” license plate, is chief of SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, the state capital. He oversees a network of research facilities and corporate partnerships designed to turn New York into a hub for nanotechnology, the manipulation of atoms and molecules for science and medicine.”

MOODY’S: UTILITIES MAY FACE LONG-TERM REV RISK — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: Moody's Investor Service said in a report Monday that utilities could face long-term risks under the state's Reforming Energy Vision initiative, a regulatory and market overhaul designed to bring more clean power onto the grid. While the role of utilities will likely change dramatically, how the REV will roll out specifically is still uncertain, and some utilities could stand to take a hit if they don't adapt. Moody's cited this uncertainty as a primary reason for its forecast.


--The New York Times’ editorial board wants Congress to grant an extension for the installation of safety features on oil and commuter trains.

--Rockaways subject of Sandy documentary: The New York Times reports “‘Everything Is Different Now: Rockaway After the Storm,’ directed by Jennifer Callahan, was shot mostly during the second half of 2013, as communities from Breezy Point in the west to Far Rockaway in the east were in the midst of a broad rebuilding effort, and many were still trying to restore normalcy to their lives.”

HAPPY TUESDAY: 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 **

CARBON EMISSIONS SLOWING DOWN — The New York Times’ Gardiner Harris: “The Obama administration announced Monday that 81 major companies have committed to large reductions in carbon emissions, part of a broad push by the White House to show progress ahead of international climate talks in Paris this year. The companies that have made the pledge including such iconic American brands as Levi Strauss & Company, McDonald’s, I.B.M. and Procter & Gamble. They have operations in all 50 states, employ over nine million people, and have more than $3 trillion in annual revenue and a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion, according to the White House.”

MATH FOR AVOIDING 2 DEGREES OF GLOBAL WARMING — Vox’s Brad Plumer: “Here's a capsule summary of the big UN climate talks this year: 1) The good news: Every country is submitting a detailed pledge to curb greenhouse gas emissions. 2) The bad: Those pledges, added together, aren't enough to keep us below 2°C of global warming. Without drastic changes, we're in for some serious shit. Point 2 can be tricky to conceptualize, since it involves so many moving parts. For more detail, I'd recommend this new paper in Environmental Research Letters by Glen s, Robbie Andrew, Susan Solomon, and Pierre Friedlingstein. It's the clearest presentation I've seen of how far off course the world is from its 2°C climate goal. And it explains why the United States, Europe, China, and even India would need to radically rethink their climate policies if we wanted to stay below that target.”

PROCTER & GAMBLE TURNS TO WIND — The New York Times’ Rachel Abrams: “Procter & Gamble has found a new source for making Tide detergent: wind. The global consumer products giant is teaming up with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas that it says will power all of its North American plants that manufacture products for fabrics and home care. Those facilities make some of the company’s best-known household items, including Tide, Febreze and Mr. Clean. It is Procter & Gamble’s biggest foray into wind power, and is the latest in a burst of partnerships between major American corporations and renewable energy companies. The initiative also represents an opportunity for P&G to garner good will with environmentally conscious consumers at a time when personal care companies are under more pressure than ever to respond to their concerns.”

NATURAL GAS OUTPOWERS COAL AGAIN — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “It’s a key expected transition in how we get our electricity — and it may be happening even faster than expected. For the second time this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas has temporarily surpassed coal as the number one source of U.S. electricity. This happened in the month of April for the first time ever, and then also happened for July, when natural gas provided 35 percent of U.S. electricity generation and coal provided 34.9 percent, says EIA. This certainly doesn’t mean gas will now be ahead every month going forward — natural gas prices have been quite low lately and may not stay that way — but it nevertheless does appear to be a milestone and a sign of the times.”

TREASURY: OIL DROP IS COSTING — POLITICO’s Doug Palmer: “The sharp drop in oil prices over the past year has cost Saudi Arabia and Russia hundreds of billions of dollars in lost export revenues to the benefit of consumers in China, the United States and the rest of the world, the U.S. Treasury Department said [Monday] in a report on foreign exchange rate practices. ‘In the first quarter of 2015, Saudi Arabia's oil export earnings fell by roughly $150 billion, relative to the first quarter of 2014. Other Gulf Cooperation Council countries saw oil revenues decline by about $130 billion during the first half of the year,’ Treasury said. ‘Russia lost $100 billion in oil revenue in the first half of 2015 relative to the same period last year.’ According to the report, Norway's oil earnings declined by $30 billion in the first half of 2015, while Iraq earnings dropped an estimated $40 billion; Venezuela, Norway and Canada lost about $30 billion each; Kazakhstan and Nigeria lost roughly $25 billion each; and Mexico and Colombia lost nearly $12 billion each.”

TRUMP TWEET OF THE DAY: Donald Trump drew the ire of a Washington Post writer when he tweeted, “It's really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” The tweet could be taken as a global warming denial or a joke your weird uncle makes.

THE IRAN OIL RUSH — The Wall Street Journal’s Benoît Faucon: “European oil companies are in fierce competition for the best oil and gas fields in Iran when Western sanctions are lifted, while U.S. energy firms watch from the sidelines. The contest has been evident this week at the first major oil-and-gas conference in Iran since world powers agreed in July to lift sanctions in exchange for curbs on the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear program. The European Union and the U.S. on Sunday formally adopted the nuclear agreement. Iran is looking for Western help to ramp up its oil-and-gas industry after sanctions shaved more than one million barrels off its average daily production.”

GAS FUTURES CONTINUE TUMBLING — The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman: “Gasoline futures tumbled to a six-year low, extending a selloff spurred by increasing supplies and concerns about weakening demand. The slump in gasoline futures, which are down nearly 10% this month, is a sign of a burgeoning glut of refined fuel, mirroring the excess supplies of crude that sent oil prices plunging late in 2014. Falling gasoline prices offer a continued benefit for U.S. households, which are expected to save hundreds of dollars each on fuel this year. While crude-oil prices continued to fall through much of 2015, gasoline prices rose as drivers opted to travel more miles and buy larger cars and trucks that require more fuel. At the end of August, gasoline futures were up 14% for the year, compared with a 7.6% decline in crude. Gasoline has since capitulated to the weakness in crude oil, falling 13% year to date, compared with crude’s 14% fall in the period.”

US EXPORTING EMISSIONS — The Washington Post: “Despite growing attention to cleaner energy, two-thirds of the world’s electricity is still produced by burning fossil fuels, mostly coal — a proportion that hasn’t budged for 35 years. Emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants have more than doubled since 1980 as the world’s demand for electricity keeps rising. This graphic is based on detailed annual analysis of electric generation and emissions by the International Energy Agency. The most recent year for which there are complete figures is 2012, but the relatively small changes since then have had little effect on overall trends.”

WHOA, CANADA: Justin Trudeau appears to have won the Canadian (sort-of) election for Prime Minister in a major upset for conservative incumbent Stephen Harper. The liberal Trudeau is the son of one of Canada’s best known P.M.’s, Pierre Trudeau. The liberal upset is likely to have a significant impact on Canada’s energy politics.


--Oil dropped again: Supply concerns again, the Journal reports.

“On Monday, crude oil settled down $1.37, or 2.9%, at $45.89 a barrel, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global crude benchmark, fell $1.85, or 3.7%, to $48.61 a barrel. Diesel futures settled down 4.75 cents, or 3.2%, at $1.4491 a gallon.”

** 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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