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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: Coal plant could return as natural gas facility; Hudson transmission line on the block

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.

FINGER LAKES COAL PLANT COULD FIND NEW LIFE — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: The owners of a former 100-megawatt coal-burning power plant in the Finger Lakes region are trying to bring it back to life as a natural gas plant that would run only during peak hours of energy grid use. The Greenidge Generating Station, located along the shores of Seneca Lake in the village of Dresden, Yates County, was mothballed in 2011. But after changing hands a few times, it may soon be operating again. Environmental groups object.

HUDSON TRANSMISSION LINE FOR SALE — POLITICO’s David Giambusso: A major, financially underperforming transmission line between New York and New Jersey is being put up for sale, according to two people with knowledge of the sale. The Hudson Transmission Project, an $850 million transmission line running from Edgewater, New Jersey, to Manhattan's West Side, was completed in 2013 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "energy highway." The primary leaseholder is the New York Power Authority, but the two majority owners, Ares EIF Management and Starwood Energy Group, are putting up their interests in the project for sale, essentially looking to sell the transmission line. The two sources were not authorized to discuss the sale publicly and neither Ares nor Starwood responded to requests for comment.

GIBSON AGAINST PIPELINE PROPOSAL — POLITICO New York’s Scott Waldman: Rep. Chris Gibson said Wednesday he will work against one of the major proposed natural gas pipelines that would cross New York. Gibson, a Republican who is considering a run for governor in 2018, said developers of the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline have offered little to the New York property owners whose land the pipeline will cross, and that project developers were attempting to impose their will on local communities. “They’re asking us to take on all the risks and get no benefits and so they’re not going to have my support,” Gibson said in an interview with Susan Arbetter on The Capital Pressroom. “In fact, they’re going to have my vocal opposition.”

** 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 **

REPORT: PSEG MAD AT LIPA — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “Officials from PSEG Long Island are scheduled to meet with top state energy regulators in Manhattan on Thursday to discuss the company's frustration with elements of its relationship with LIPA, sources said. The meeting with PSEG officials, including PSEG Long Island president Dave Daly, is scheduled to include state Public Service Commission chairwoman Audrey Zibelman and state energy Czar Richard Kaufman, the sources said. Among the issues expected to be addressed are PSEG's difficulties in getting LIPA to approve plans that conform to a state mandate known as Reforming the Energy Vision, the sources said.”

TEAMSTERS CLAIM WASTE WIN — POLITICO’s David Giambusso: The Teamsters have notched their first official New York City win in an ongoing battle to unionize the city's private carting and waste management industry. Employees at Allstate Power Vac, a New Jersey-based company with a shop in Brooklyn, voted by a 98-percent margin to join Teamsters Local 813 after complaints of low wages, lack of benefits and poor treatment, union officials said. "One of the main issues was respect," said Plinio Cruz-Alvarez, one of the Teamsters' principal organizers. "The bosses talked down to them like they were little kids."


--An Entergy spokesman said the closure of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant was final.

--Environmental Advocates of New York gave awards to local leaders across the state for their work banning microbeads.

--Poop art: DNAInfo reports “more than 30 artists are participating in “The S-it Show,” an exhibition opening to the public on Nov. 20 at the Thierry Goldberg Gallery to help raise awareness about water and sanitation issues around the globe.”

GOOD THURSDAY MORNING: 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:

MAJOR WIND FARM PROPOSED OFF COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS — Boston Globe’s Jay Fitzgerald: “A major European energy company is proposing what could be North America’s largest offshore wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, outlining its plans less than a year after the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound suffered a stunning financial setback. Denmark-based DONG Energy A/S, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms, Monday said it would build up to 100 giant wind turbines, generating as much as 1,000 megawatts of electricity — more than double the output Cape Wind had proposed for its site off Cape Cod. The Danish company recently acquired one of the leases for a stretch of ocean that the US government has designated for wind farms. It has dubbed the local operation Bay State Wind.”

CHINA’S COAL DEPENDENCE — The New York Times’ Edward Wong: “Just outside the southwest border of Beijing, a new coal-fired power and heating plant is rising in Dongxianpo, a rural town in Hebei Province. Cement mixers roll onto the site. Cranes tower above a landscape of metal girders. When finished, the plant, run by a company owned by the Beijing government, is expected to have a generating capacity of 700 megawatts of power, more than the total of similar plants in Ohio. But whether it will actually be used to its fullest is questionable, despite the investment of $580 million. That is because the plant is scheduled to come online in three years amid a glut of coal-fired power plants — an astounding 155 planned projects received a permit this year alone, with total capacity equal to nearly 40 percent of that of operational coal power plants in the United States.”

VIDEO: SOLARCITY’S WOES: Bloomberg interviews Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO on the future and future challenges of solar.

OBAMA SHOULD LET FOSSIL FUELS LIE — Opinion by Lydia Millet in the New York Times: “President Obama’s rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline last week had the ring of a great victory for the environment. But even as he declared the United States a “global leader” in the transition to cleaner energy, he revealed a challenge that neither he nor his administration has confronted: ‘If we’re going to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes,’ the president said, ‘we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground, rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.’”

KERRY: NO TREATY IN PARIS — The Financial Times: “John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has warned that December’s Paris climate change talks will not deliver a ‘treaty’ that legally requires countries to cut their carbon emissions, exposing international divisions over how to enforce a deal. The EU and many other countries have long argued that the accord due to be finalised next month should be an ‘international treaty’ containing legally binding measures to cut emissions. But in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Kerry insisted the agreement was ‘definitively not going to be a treaty.’ It would still contain measures that would drive a ‘significant amount of investment’ toward a low carbon global economy, he said. But, he added: ‘They’re not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto or something,” a reference to the 1997 Kyoto protocol, a UN climate treaty that contained targets for cutting emissions that countries ratifying it were legally obliged to meet.’”

FIRST CLIMATE FUND PROJECTS — InsideClimate News: “The main fund to help the world's poorest cope with climate change cleared an obstacle last week after an all-night negotiating session in Zambia settled on the first projects to receive $363 million. Projects include campaigns to rebuild Peruvian wetlands, provide off-grid solar in East Africa and expand Malawi's extreme weather warning systems. The Green Climate Fund's job is to eventually deliver tens of billions of dollars promised to the poor nations, and is key to achieving a global agreement at climate talks in Paris next month. Many developing countries have warned they will not sign off any deal without substantial aid from wealthy countries.”

TRACKING CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate Nexus has assembled decades of temperature data into a series of whizziwig graphics that are as frightening to behold as they are fun to play with. “In the United States, the most recent decade (2000-2010) was the nation’s warmest on record. Record-breaking high temperatures are now outnumbering record lows by an average decadal ratio of 2:1. Record highs are occurring more often than record lows due to climate change.”

BUT THE CLIMATE IS ALWAYS CHANGING? Vox’s David Roberts examines the claims of climate change deniers that the Earth’s climate is always changing, most recently posited by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. “Maybe temperatures will spike for a few thousand years and then settle back into the Holocene groove. Or maybe the atmosphere, once knocked out of its temporary Holocene equilibrium, will resume the rapid glacial-interglacial spikes of the past 100,000 years. Or maybe something else will happen. Who knows? What we do know, thanks to Paul, is that Earth's climate has always changed; this too shall pass. Of course, some of us suffer from a more limited temporal perspective and are preoccupied with the next 100 years or so. Geologically, that is nothing, the blink of an eye. But then again, it does encompass the lives of every extant human and their children and grandchildren. On our current trajectory, during those next 100 years we are on course to drive temperatures higher than human civilization has ever experienced, with a small but nontrivial chance of driving it so high that civilization becomes impossible to sustain. This is now accepted by the entire global scientific community and just about every major political party on Earth save the US Republican Party.”

UK LAGGING IN RENEWABLE GOALS — The Guardian: “Amber Rudd has admitted the UK does not have the right policies in place to meet its EU target of sourcing 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, and challenged transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to help make up the shortfall. The energy secretary told MPs on Tuesday that meeting the target would be challenging, and admitted that the UK could end up having to buy renewable energy from its European neighbours if it fell short. Rudd said that the prospect of the UK getting just 11.5% of energy from renewables by 2020 without further action, first revealed in a leaked letter on Monday, was accurate. The gap would have to be addressed by the Department for Transport and by her department doing more on heat, she said.”


--Oil falls to two month low, on concerns over too much supply,the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Light, sweet crude for December delivery settled down $1.28, or 2.9%, at $42.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Aug. 27. Brent, the global benchmark, fell $1.63, or 3.4%, to $45.81 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the lowest level since Aug. 26.”

--Natural gas slips on warm weather, abundant supply, the Journal reports.

“Natural-gas futures for December delivery settled down 5.7 cents, or 2.5%, at $2.263 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.”

** 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 at **

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