By David Giambusso and Marie J. French | 05/19/2017 09:52 AM EDT

NYISO: IT'S THE TRANSMISSION, STUPID — POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: "The state's renewable power supply is imbalanced and without new and upgraded transmission, clean power will struggle to get where it is needed the most, according to the New York Independent System Operator's 'Power Trends 2017' report released Thursday. The annual report, an assessment of the state's energy grid, is among NYISO's most important tools in educating policymakers and regulators about the challenges that will face the grid in coming years. Those already familiar with the positions of the corporation, an independent non-profit that runs the state's power market, will recognize a familiar theme: the state needs to upgrade its transmission if it wants to meet the clean energy goals set out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo." Read more here.

AMID LEGAL FIGHT, NYC WATER RATES FROZEN — POLITICO New York's David Giambusso: The Department of Environmental Protection is recommending a continued freeze on water rates as it sorts through an ongoing legal battle with the Rent Stabilization Association over water rates from last year, according to a letter the department sent to the city Water Board. The board is meeting Thursday morning to discuss rates for Fiscal Year 2018 but acting DEP commissioner Vincent Sapienza testified recently before the City Council that the department's operating budget would require roughly $400 million less than Fiscal Year 2017 due to ongoing cuts in operational spending and the spending down of federal Build it Back funding. The board voted Thursday to approve the proposed budget which effectively freezes the rates. It left other affordability recommendations to be voted on at a later date. Read more here.

LONG ISLAND WATER HIKE — POLITICO New York's Marie J. French: The state's utility regulator has approved a rate increase for New York American Water that in one Long Island community amounts to a 40 percent annual hike because of high property taxes. About 4,400 water customers in Sea Cliff on the north shore in Nassau County will see their annual water bills increase to $821 from $587 in the first year of the four-year increase, according to the Public Service Commission. The rate hike and other smaller increases in the rest of the company's service territory were approved unanimously by the PSC on Thursday..." Read more here.

— The PSC also approved a Reforming the Energy Vision order allowing ConEd partners to export power from battery storage as part of the Brooklyn Queens Demand Management program. But the order goes beyond that and suggests ConEd explore battery storage in other parts of New York City. It also requires ConEd and other utilities to report by December 1 on whether battery storage should always be allowed to feed back into the grid as part of load management plans when demand for electricity is high.

— Department of Public Service staff also reported that there is enough available capacity to meet energy needs even on the hottest day in summer when electricity use would spike.

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— The first of about 150 shipments of high-level liquid nuclear waste between Ontario and South Carolina began last month.

— The Rockland County Sewer District No. 1 spent more than $18 million acquiring about 64 acres of land in Hillburn after years of litigation. Now, much of the property remains vacant and the sewer district is considering selling some of the property. Wochit

— Crews are working frantically to cope with the rising flood waters of Lake Ontario and manage the extensive damage already exacted.

— Because of the increased flooding the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is saying boat safety has never been more important.

— Four Republican members of Congress from upstate New York say Gov. Andrew Cuomo shouldn't wait to request emergency federal aid to help shoreline property owners along Lake Ontario.

— Tonawanda Tomorrow unveiled its general recommendations on how the Town of Tonawanda can grow its economy following the closing of the NRG Energy's Huntley Power Plant.

— Unit 3 at the Indian Point nuclear power plant has returned to service after a two-month scheduled outage for refueling, maintenance and inspections.

— The town and the state DEC will work together to add a parking lot and clean up eight others at the popular Shelving Rock hiking and rock-climbing area.

— Wind farm developers in West Carthage are requesting an abandoned road be opened to facilitate construction.

— The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council established new air monitoring requirements during work at the former General Motors site in Massena.

— There will be a solar celebration in Cass Park on Sunday to mark Tompkins County's solar successes.

— As they get hit with higher prices, legacy Time Warner Cable television customers are dropping Charter Communications' Spectrum brand by the tens of thousands.

— Those who want to enjoy Million Dollar Beach and the state park that surrounds it will have more hours to do so this spring and summer.

** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: Thanks to New York's nuclear energy and innovative policies like the Clean Energy Standard, the future is bright for New York. Together they work to keep our air clean, our economy thriving, and our community members employed. Learn more at **

STATE OVERSIGHT AMONG TOP CHALLENGES FOR EPA — POLITICO'S Alex Guillén: EPA needs to increase oversight of states' environmental work, better analyze workload tasks and prepare for cyber threats, the agency's inspector general said Thursday in a report on management challenges. Read more here.

PARK A MERCEDES (BATTERY) IN THE GARAGE — The New York Times Diane Cardwell: "Vivint Solar, a leading provider of residential rooftop systems, has tried many things over the years to gain an edge on the competition. Now it is hoping that offering customers a Mercedes-Benz for $5,000 to $13,000 will do the trick. But the offer is not for a car from the German automaker. Instead, it is for a sleek battery the size of a mini-fridge that will allow homeowners to take better advantage of the energy their solar power systems produce, whether to cut costs or to maintain a steady source of electricity during power failures." Read more here.

SURVEY: OPEC WILL EXTEND CUTS — Bloomberg's Mark Shenk and Grant Smith: "OPEC will extend an accord that trims production, even as surging U.S. output threatens the group's goal of draining excess supply, according to a Bloomberg survey." Read more here.

ARPA-E FUNDS BEGIN TO FLOW AGAIN — POLITICO's Darius Dixon: The Energy Department announced Thursday afternoon that it is "honoring commitments to several previously selected" grants under its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program after lifting a funding freeze on the office. Read more here.

INTERIOR LOBBYING RAISES CONFLICT ISSUE — Bloomberg's Ari Natter and Jennifer A Dlouhy: "Donald Trump's election has been a boon for backers of a controversial plan to pump billions of gallons of water from a Mojave Desert aquifer to Southern California -- including one of the president's nominees. David Bernhardt, on tap to be the No. 2 official in the Interior Department, has been a paid consultant to the water project's developer, Cadiz Inc., and his law firm stands to collect millions of dollars in stock options from the company if the project clears federal regulatory hurdles and meets other milestones, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission." Read more here.

CALI BREAKS RENEWABLE RECORD — San Francisco Chronicle's Dominic Fracassa: "A stretch of sunny, windy days, combined with brimming reservoirs at hydroelectricity facilities across the state, helped California reach yet another renewable energy milestone last weekend." Read more here.

FERC NOMINEE HEARINGS NEXT WEEK — POLITICO's Darius Dixon: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing for next week to review nominees for the DOE's No. 2 spot and two open seats at FERC. Read more here.

DER COSTS HIGHLIGHTED — UtilityDive's Herman Trabish: "The $2.1 billion spend that Southern California Edison wants regulators to approve for readying its system for distributed resources has raised a lot of stakeholder questions." Read more here.

ENERGY DEAL TOAST IN TEXAS — Wall Street Journal's Peg Brickley: "Texas regulators aren't inclined to change their minds about NextEra Energy Inc.'s proposed takeover of Oncor, one of the country's largest electricity-transmissions businesses. ... At a session Thursday, commissioners said they will wait to see more briefs before getting to a final vote on June 7 on the motion for reconsideration. However, they didn't see anything in NextEra's pleas to sway them, they said." Read more here.

RETURN OF THE GREENS — Washington Post's Chris Mooney: "Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent's northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet." Read more here.

— The New York Times sent reporters and graphics artists to Antarctica to see how the ice is melting.


— Oil hit a three week high amid declining stockpiles and news of OPEC cuts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

** A message from Upstate Energy Jobs: New York's dedication to critical energy sources such as nuclear energy provides 25,000 New Yorkers with employment and contributes $3 billion to our state's economy. It also puts our state at the center of the movement for carbon-free power. Currently, our states' nuclear energy facilities keep more than 16 million tons of carbon-dioxide out of our air, and in 12 years the total will reach 180 million. Groundbreaking policies like the Clean Energy Standard (CES) are dedicated to utilizing this incredible energy source to allow us to reach the State Energy Plan goal of 40 percent carbon-free energy generation by 2030, while also providing quality jobs in our state - for less than $2 a month. This benefits all New Yorkers. Supporting policies like the CES means building a bright future for New York State's economy, energy demands, environment, and communities. Learn more at **

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