By Marie J. French | 12/05/2017 09:57 AM EDT
STORAGE MARKET PLAN RELEASED — POLITICO's Marie J. French: The state's grid operator is developing ways to reduce obstacles facing developers of batteries and other energy storage technologies selling their electricity in New York. The New York Independent System Operator is working on new market rules and software to allow energy storage resources to make a single bid into the wholesale electricity market and be more fully compensated for the value they provide, according to a roadmap released Monday. More storage resources can help complement additional renewable resources such as solar and wind that are not consistently available and also improve grid resiliency. NYISO hopes to have the new procedures finalized by 2020. "What we are trying to do here is to remove barriers for storage to participate in the market," said Rana Mukerji, NYISO's senior vice president of market structures. That change, and subsequent improvements, will make it easier to support the increased integration of renewables promoted by the the state's Clean Energy Standard,which sets a goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030, he said. The roadmap calls for additional improvements to integrating storage, including NYISO developing the capability to schedule when a resource should charge itself and aggregating intermittent renewables with storage resources. Read more here.
NJ'S TURN FOR NUCLEAR WAR — POLITICO's Danielle Muoio: Without even a bill to debate, a proposed nuclear subsidy drew a multitude of comments during a marathon three-hour joint legislative hearing on Monday. The state Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee met to discuss whether subsidies are necessary to prevent the premature retirement of the state's nuclear power plants. PSEG, which owns much of the state's nuclear generation, has argued for years that the plants will soon be unprofitable and will have to close without some form of subsidy. The notion has drawn recrimination from both environmentalists and the business community, who have accused the utility giant of trying to pad its bottom line at the expense of utility customers who will foot the bill. Senate Environment and Energy Chairman Bob Smith declined to say when a bill would be forthcoming, though one is reportedly in the works. He said if there is a bill, it's possible it could be passed during the Legislature's lame-duck session. "I'm not a national Republican. I actually believe that legislators should actually see a bill and evaluate it," Smith told reporters after the hearing. "You will not have a bill, if there is a bill, where no one has a chance to look." Ralph Izzo, CEO of PSEG, was the first to testify at Monday's hearing. Izzo said subsidies will be necessary to keep New Jersey's struggling plants operational in the next two years — an argument he has voiced many times, citing nuclear's emission-free attributes. Read more here.
WATER WORRIES — POLITICO's Nick Niedzwiadek: Uncertainty caused by the federal government loomed over a joint Assembly committee hearing Monday on water infrastructure projects in New York. Members of the Democratic-controlled Assembly and environmental experts scolded Washington for "abdicating its responsibility" and not doing more to assist the state and localities in funding needed improvements to water systems. "The missing piece here is the federal government, quite frankly," said Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). "It should be apparent that the proportional response from our federal government is wanting, to say the least." The hearing, held in Manhattan, was conducted by the Environmental Conservation and Health committees. Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) noted that Environmental Protection Agency officials did not respond to a letter sent last year by state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos over a perceived lack of oversight of contamination in small water systems. "Certainly we're not getting any help on these emerging contaminants," she said. Some speakers also expressed concern about the state's fiscal priorities as it seeks to close a deficit in next year's budget. Read more here.
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LIPA TAX WIN — Newsday's Mark Harrington: "A state Supreme Court judge has granted a request by LIPA to temporarily prevent Suffolk County and its comptroller from seizing or selling authority properties that are the subject of an ongoing tax dispute. In a ruling Wednesday, state Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan granted the Long Island Power Authority's request for a temporary restraining order to prevent action on the properties by the county, pending a Dec. 14 hearing. LIPA filed a request for declaratory judgment last Monday." Read more here.
PANASONIC HIRES FOR TESLA — Buffalo News' David Robinson: "Panasonic hopes to have slightly more than 300 people working by the end of the year at its portion of the Tesla solar panel factory. The company, which began making solar modules at the sprawling Riverbend factory in late summer, is getting ready to expand its production to include solar cells in the coming months, a spokesman said." Read more here.
AROUND NEW YORK:
— FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee used his personal Facebook page to taunt actor James Cromwell, who protested FERC's handling of the Valley Lateral pipeline project at the commission's meeting in Washington last month.
— Fishermen are worried about an offshore wind farm proposed 30 miles out in the Atlantic from Montauk, the largest fishing port in the state.
— Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are urging FEMA to act swiftly to deliver disaster aid for Monroe County, which wasn't included in a recent declaration.
— A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced two bills that would require New Jersey to join the U.S. Climate Alliance and uphold the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
— Ithaca, the city of gorges, is considering blocking one off after drownings.
— New York state has expanded a program for industrial- and multi-family-building owners who want to make their properties more energy efficient.
— A number of local officials want Central Hudson's fixed charges lowered as part of the utility's rate case.
— Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that directs the Public Service Commission to set an energy storage target.
— TerraSmart, a large commercial solar installer based in Fort Myers, Fla., is planning to open a large warehouse, office and racking facility in Selkirk outside of Albany.
NEW POLLUTION LEADER — Bloomberg's Tom Randall: "For the first time in 40 years, power plants are no longer the biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. That dubious distinction now belongs to the transport sector: cars, trucks, planes, trains and boats." Read more here.
TRUMP SHRINKS MONUMENTS — The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey and Juliet Eilperin: "President Trump on Monday drastically scaled back two national monuments established in Utah by his Democratic predecessors, the largest reduction of public lands protection in U.S. history." Read more here.
ENERGY INDUSTRY'S SECOND CHANCE — Bloomberg's Ari Natter: "Energy lobbyists, who failed to get a range of expired breaks for biofuels to coal-fired power plants into the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul bill making its way through Congress, may get a second chance before the end of the year." Read more here.
FEDS COURT CLIMATE SKEPTICS — E&E News' Scott Waldman: "Justice Department lawyers are quietly courting climate scientists for a simmering legal fight that could have massive implications for government global warming policies." Read more here.
CLIMATE PANEL DISSOLVED — Bloomberg's Christopher Flavelle: "The Trump administration has terminated a cross-agency group created to help local officials protect their residents against extreme weather and natural disasters." Read more here.
UNDER THE RAILROAD — Midwest Energy News' Karen Uhlenhuth: "While proposed long-distance, high-voltage transmission projects continue to be stymied by hostile landowners and disapproving state regulators, a new transmission strategy is taking root in the Midwest. The Direct Connect Development Company has been working on a plan for an underground transmission line along existing railroad tracks from north-central Iowa to the Chicago area. The goal is to provide a way to move additional wind energy from Iowa, the Dakotas and Minnesota to a transfer point in the Chicago area." Read more here.
BMW PLOTS EV PUSH — Bloomberg's Elisabeth Behrmann: "BMW AG is targeting another ambitious hike in plug-in hybrid and battery car sales next year to defend its position in the electric-car shift as competitors like Volkswagen AG ready their own battery lineups." Read more here.
MAINE SOLAR UNREST — Maine Public Radio's Fred Bever: "The fight over incentives for solar power installations in Maine enters a new phase this month. New, less-generous incentives for solar installations set by the Maine Public Utilities Commission kick in on Jan. 1. But before then, parties on all sides are asking for some clarity." Read more here.
FLORIDA GRID COSTS QUESTIONED — Orlando Sentinel's Marcia Pounds: "The hurricane season is over, but FPL customers, consumer advocates and state legislators are still simmering over the effectiveness of the company's electric grid upgrades, and whether the utility can do more to prevent storm-driven power outages." Read more here.
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