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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.
GREEN BANK DROPS FIRST BIG ALLOCATIONS — POLITICO New York’s David Giambusso: The Cuomo administration on Wednesday announced the first major allocations of the New York Green Bank since the project began in 2013. The state has touted the bank as a dedicated fund that will eventually reach $1 billion in capital to finance clean energy products and technologies that otherwise would have difficulty attracting capital from the private sector. Until this week, the Green Bank's only disbursement was a $500,000 letter of credit for the state Environmental Improvement Corporation. The Cuomo administration announced three projects Wednesday totaling $49 million that state officials say will leverage as much as $178 million in additional capital from the private sector. http://politi.co/1LG0osQ
SCHUMER: NUKE PLANT SHOULD STAY OPEN — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has joined the debate over the future of an Oswego County nuclear power plant, saying Wednesday that the James A. FitzPatrick facility should remain open. “I’ve talked to the leadership of the plant, I’ve talked to the local folks and we’re trying to figure out a way to keep the plant going,” said Schumer, a Democrat. Entergy, which operates the plant, said last month it may shutter the facility which employs 600 people and provides $17 million in tax payments. Entergy is expected to make a final decision in the coming days. The plant provides enough power for about 800,000 homes but is expected to lose millions of dollars annually over the next few years. The company is seeking financial incentives from the state to keep the plant operational. http://politi.co/1GqD858
NO DETAILS ON GE OFFER — International Business Times’ David Sirota: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has boasted about courting General Electric to move its headquarters back to New York. The second-term Democrat said the incentive package he's offering represents ‘a lot of love’ — on top of a separate $50 million he has already given the company. But his administration now says it has no records of any offer being made by the state to the company. In response to International Business Times’ open-records requests for any emails, memos or documents relating to incentives to GE from New York, Cuomo’s office and his economic development agency told International Business Times that it has no such documents. Despite his office saying it has no record of incentives offered to GE, Cuomo and his aides have publicly acknowledged communicating with company officials about moving back to New York. Cuomo, though, has refused to detail what he says he ‘put on the table.’” http://bit.ly/1M73g12
AROUND NEW YORK:
--New York City has planted one million trees. http://nyti.ms/1W53T0N
--Federal regulators have signed off on a key step of a proposed upgrade of a natural gas pipeline in Central New York. http://politi.co/1jBNdSQ
--U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants New Yorkers to identify “dead zones” for cell phones to help him prove carriers are falsely advertising their coverage maps. http://politi.co/1PBhIW1
** 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 NuclearMatters.com. **
SWEET THURSDAY: 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
US AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING ALLEGED VENEZUELA SHAKEDOWN — The Wall Street Journal's José De Córdoba and Juan Forero: “One of Spain’s leading construction companies were delighted to land an appointment with Rafael Ramírez, the president of Petróleos de Venezuela, to talk about their plans to bid on a $1.5 billion electric-power project for the Venezuelan state oil giant. But when they showed up at the JW Marriott Hotel in Caracas, it was Mr. Ramírez’s cousin, Diego Salazar, who received them in the presidential suite, say two people who attended the 2006 meeting. Mr. Salazar got right to the point, they say: The Spaniards would have to pay at least $150 million in kickbacks to be in the running. 'If not,' Mr. Salazar told the businessmen, according to one person, 'you should return to the airport.' The executives didn’t bite. But plenty of other vendors were willing to play along on PdVSA projects, say people who worked with the company before Mr. Ramírez’s departure last year. Now, U.S. authorities have launched a series of wide-ranging investigations into whether Venezuela’s leaders used PdVSA to loot billions of dollars from the country through kickbacks and other schemes, say people familiar with the matter. The probes, carried out by federal law enforcement in multiple jurisdictions around the U.S., are also attempting to determine whether PdVSA and its foreign bank accounts were used for other illegal purposes, including black-market currency schemes and laundering drug money, these people say.” http://on.wsj.com/1GVbh84
HOW WE’LL TRANSITION TO CLEAN ENERGY — Vox’s David Roberts: “One worry that haunts the transition to clean energy — haunts any ambitious plan to use government policy to change the status quo — is how much it will cost, in public funds and in jobs. Thus, independent analysts have spent a great deal of time modeling the transition, showing how costs and employment net out over the long term. Some wonks and advocates have a bad habit of stopping there. ‘The transition is affordable and creates more jobs than it destroys. Argument won!’ However, the net effects are of mainly academic interest, at best the germ, the seed, of a strategy. What's more relevant to the political prospects of a clean energy transition is not net costs and jobs, but who gains and who loses. Which industries lose, and what kind of power will they wield to prevent it? Which win, and how equipped are they to support it?” http://bit.ly/1KoQuKn
THE CHANGING GRID — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “FERC. Demand response. Wholesale and retail electricity markets. If names and phrases like these have already made you want to stop reading, then chances are news last week about the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association was not at the top of your list. That response is totally understandable. This stuff is beyond wonky. It pains even us electricity nerds. Nevertheless, what’s at stake in the case goes to the heart of the gigantic changes that are now happening in the ways we get electricity — and pay for it. So while this might not sound like it directly affects you, the truth is that we’re all ultimately parties to the transition the grid is undergoing right now.” http://wapo.st/1OQvuCt
GOP WANTS TO BE PART OF CLIMATE DEAL IT WANTS TO KILL — The Hill: “Republican senators accused President Obama Tuesday of deliberately circumventing Congress in his attempt to reach a broad U.N. deal on climate change. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of a Foreign Relations Committee subpanel, said at a Tuesday hearing that any deal negotiators reach at the talks in Paris in December needs to go through Senate ratification. 'Just like the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations framework convention on climate change, any agreement that commits our nation to targets or timetables must go through the process established by the founders in our Constitution. It must be submitted to the United States Senate for its advice and consent,' Barrasso told Todd Stern, the State Department’s top negotiator for the deal. 'The president has made clear that he doesn’t see it that way, as was the case with the Iranian nuclear deal,' he said. Barrasso was the only Republican at the hearing, which was dominated by Democrats who thanked Stern for his work.” http://bit.ly/1LFZQmT
CYBER THREAT WARNING — McClatchy: “The U.S. needs to be more aggressive in putting critical energy infrastructure out of reach of cyberattacks, a top official of the government’s Idaho National Laboratory warned lawmakers. Brent Stacey, the lab’s associate director, told a pair of House subcommittees Wednesday that the problem is bad and getting worse. 'The dynamic threat is evolving faster than the cycle of measure and countermeasure, and far faster than the evolution of policy,' he said. There are more cyberattacks against the energy sector than any other industry. Energy companies say they are under constant assault, and the Department of Homeland Security’sCyber Emergency Response Team responded to 79 attacks on American energy assets last year.” http://bit.ly/1MUb37F
THE TRUDEAU CLIMATE PROTOCOL — InsideClimate News: “After a stunning upset in Canada's parliamentary election Monday, the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper lost control of the government to the Liberal Party and its leader Justin Trudeau, a 43-year-old former schoolteacher and the son of longtime prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The change in leadership will have major implications for Canadian climate action, political and environmental experts told InsideClimate News. 'It will be a pretty dramatic change,' said Adam Scott, program manager of climate and energy at Environmental Defence Canada. 'It is hard to get much worse than what we've had on the climate front with the Harper administration.'” http://bit.ly/1LFNtqI
JAPAN COAL FUTURE — Bloomberg’s Chisaki Watanabe: “As Japan burns more coal following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, power producers are able to duck pollution standards by building coal-fired projects small enough to avoid national regulator scrutiny, critics say. About a third of 45 new power-generation units fueled by coal won’t face the government’s environmental assessment because their small size puts them under the review level, according to Kiko Network, a Kyoto-based environmental group. Coal’s role is under debate as resource-poor Japan grapples with the Fukushima disaster’s shutdown of all nuclear plants and plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. While operators say smaller plants can be built faster, their exemption from national -level inspections is a sore point for foes.” http://bloom.bg/1dCP3Qw
GREEN APPLE IN CHINA — The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney: “Apple, the world’s largest public company by market capitalization,announced late Wednesday a suite new of renewable energy investments and partnerships in China — the world’s largest nation by greenhouse gas emissions. The iPhone and Apple Watch maker, which already powers its electricity hungry data centers and U.S. operations generally with 100 percent renewable energy, will now also seek to green its supply chain in the vast country, chief executive Tim Cook announced in China Wednesday.” http://wapo.st/1MUaQRP
--Oil sinks well below $50: U.S. crude stockpiles grew by 8 million barrels sending oil futures down, Wednesday the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The U.S. oil benchmark settled down $1.09, or 2.4%, at $45.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, briefly trading below $45 a barrel and ending at its lowest level since Oct. 1. The global Brent contract fell 86 cents, or 1.8%, to $47.85 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.” http://on.wsj.com/1LG0HUt
** 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 atNuclearMatters.com. **
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