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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Analyst weighs in on FitzPatrick closing; SolarCity reliant on subsidies

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.

ANALYST: STATE ‘DOES NOT UNDERSTAND’ EXTENT OF FITZPATRICK LOSSES — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The Cuomo administration "does not understand" the extent of Entergy’s financial losses at the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility and that those deficits are too extensive for the state to save the plant, an independent analysis has concluded. Entergy announced Monday it would shutter the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in about a year, citing $60 million in annual losses at the Oswego County facility. Gov. Andrew Cuomo immediately released a statement calling the move "callous" and threatened legal action. “While management confirmed that New York and Entergy have had conversations in recent weeks to save its Fitzpatrick plant, rhetoric out of the state suggests it does not understand the depth of the plant's losses, blaming the company for sacrificing jobs to the detriment of its ‘bottom line,’” UBS utility analyst Julien Dumoulin-Smith wrote. “While New York has nominally suggested it will pursue legal and regulatory avenues possible to keep the plant open, we suspect the ~$60 million a year in deficits projected by management is just too much to accommodate.”

ANOTHER ‘PUNCH TO THE GUT’ — Syracuse Post-Standard: The closing of FitzPatrick is “a punch in the gut to Central New York —one we've felt many times before. Allied. Miller. Carrier. New Process Gear. Nestle. These stalwarts once employed thousands upon thousands of people in our region. Then markets changed, corporate priorities changed, the global economy changed. One by one, they pulled up stakes and left. Nothing personal. It's just business.”

--Union leaders at FitzPatrick wonder if someone else will run the plant.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York’s nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP. Learn more at **

PLANNING FOR LOSS OF FEDERAL INCENTIVES AT SOLARCITY — GTM Media’s Stephen Lacey: “ Rive, SolarCity's chief technical officer and co-founder, says that the company is preparing itself for the loss of a 30-percent federal tax credit. ‘We’re planning for it to happen. The worst time to align the company around that reality is in 2017,’ said Rive, speaking at GTM's Solar Market Insight conference in San Diego on Tuesday. If Congress does not act, the Investment Tax Credit will decline to 10 percent for residential solar leases and power purchase agreements, and expire completely for cash-based systems in 2017.”


--The New York Power Authority should buy back the FitzPatrick nuclear facility, the former mayor of Oswego writes.

--The Polar Vortex may bring a bitter end to a winter that will come in like a lamb, but energy prices should stay relatively low.

--University at Buffalo researchers are looking at how big data can improve the way electricity is produced, consumed and used.

--A new federal plan for Long Island Sound aims to protect thousands of acres of open space and reduce beach closures caused by sewage leaks.

--The town of Amherst banned fracking waste on its roads.

--The New York Power Authority provided cheap hydropower to keep jobs at a smelter in the North Country, but it’s closing anyway and laying off hundreds of employees.

HAPPY POST-ELECTION DAY: Hope your candidates did well. Let us know if you have tips, 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 DAY OF STEEP JOB LOSSES FOR UPSTATE NEW YORK — Gannett’s Joseph Spector: “Despite efforts by state leaders to boost the upstate economy, Monday was not a good day. There was the decision by Entergy to announce plans to close its FitzPatrick nuclear plant, which has about 600 jobs. State officials are fighting the closure plans and are trying to steer Kraft-Heinz Co. away from closing or downsizing three manufacturing facilities near Rochester and in the Southern Tier. That’s 940 jobs on the line at Kraft-Heinz and comes after the merger of the two companies led offices to be closed in Tarrytown, Westchester County. “We are aggressively advocating to keep — and where possible expand — these jobs in New York, and these recent reports have only redoubled our efforts,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, said in a statement.”

GOVERNMENT DAMAGING PUBLIC LAND BY SITING RENEWABLES — Opinion by Janine Blaeloch for the New York Times: “The U.S. government is committed to a mistaken and damaging renewable-energy policy that promotes and heavily subsidizes industrial-scale solar and wind development on public lands. This industrial assault is already under way, and may ultimately cover hundreds of thousands of acres of our public land — much of which consists of intact ecosystems that provide habitat for rare and endangered plants and animals, sequester carbon, and offer the chance for ecosystem adaptation to climate change.”

ANOTHER PIPELINE IN CANADA COULD MOVE AHEAD — Reuters: “While TransCanada Corp has moved to delay the U.S. review of its Keystone XL oil pipeline, its planned Energy East project in Canada could go ahead if it passes a robust environmental review, a senior Liberal Party source said on Tuesday. Incoming Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken positively about Energy East, which would ship Alberta and Saskatchewan crude oil to eastern Canada. But he has also said the project, which is opposed by environmental groups, needed community support. The Liberals, set to take power after defeating the pipeline-friendly Conservatives in last month's Canadian election, had pledged to "restore robust oversight" into the environmental assessment process.”

GORE CALLS FOR EXXON INVESTIGATION — Dealbook’s Leslie Picker: “Former Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday that there should be an investigation into Exxon Mobil over what he said was the oil company’s misleading the public about the risks of climate change. Echoing the views of the Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the onetime presidential candidate and current environmental activist and investor said at the DealBook conference in New York that Exxon’s actions were similar to those of the tobacco industry in the 1980s, when it denied that smoking could cause health problems.”

CHEAP, CLEAN STOVES WERE SUPPOSED TO SAVE LIVES — WHAT HAPPENED? — Opinion by Mary Gunter for The Washington Post: “About 3 billion of the world’s poorest people burn wood, charcoal or dung in smoky, open fires to cook their food and heat their homes. Millions die annually from lung and heart ailments caused by cooking with solid fuels, according to the World Health Organization. With that in mind, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, launched a public-private partnership called the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in 2010. By creating a global market for ‘clean and efficient household cooking solutions,’ the alliance would ‘save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and protect the environment.’ Providing poor women with clean cookstoves, Clinton said at the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, ‘could be as transformative as bed nets or even vaccines,’ which have saved tens of millions of lives. It hasn’t worked out that way, despite the best efforts of the alliance, which operates as a project of the U.N. Foundation in Washington.”

CLIMATE CHANGE ENDANGERING ANTELOPE — The New York Times’ Carl Zimmer: “A mysterious die-off of endangered antelopes last spring in Central Asia was even more extensive than originally thought, killing more than half of the entire species in less than a month, scientists have found. ‘I’ve worked in wildlife disease all my life, and I thought I’d seen some pretty grim things,’ Richard A. Kock, of the Royal Veterinary College in London, said in a telephone interview. ‘But this takes the biscuit.’ At a scientific meeting last week in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dr. Kock and his colleagues reported that they had narrowed down the possible culprits. Climate change and stormy spring weather, they said, may have transformed harmless bacteria carried by the antelopes, called saigas, into lethal pathogens. It is a scenario that deeply worries scientists.”


--Gasoline, diesel and crude oil prices climbed Tuesday on reports of disruptions at the nation’s largest refined-fuel pipeline, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Gasoline futures rose 7.02 cents, or 5.1%, to $1.4455 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since Aug. 31. Gasoline futures typically decline at this time of year as demand weakens, but prices have bounced in recent weeks since dropping to six-year lows in October. Diesel futures rose 5.91 cents, or 3.9%, to $1.566 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.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state’s electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York’s state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us **

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