Capital Energy: Con Ed called to Albany; Utility ombudsman

May 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

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A CALL FROM THE CHAIR: P.S.C. chair Audrey Zibelman summoned Con Edison officials to discuss reports they were overwhelmed by calls of gas leaks. Following a deadly March gas explosion in East Harlem, the utility encouraged residents to be more vigilant in reporting gas odors. The New York Times, citing an internal memo, reported last week that calls have nearly doubled and the utility may be out of compliance with state parameters. Zibelman yesterday asked Con Ed to meet “as soon as possible” to discuss the leaks.

CRUDE OIL COMMITTEE FORMED: Albany County has appointed the former acting commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to head an advisory committee that will investigate and report on concerns about oil trains heading through the area. Peter Iwanowicz, currently the executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, will serve in an unpaid role as chairman of the County’s Expert Advisory Committee.


  • Con Ed continuing energy-saving incentive program
  • PSC summons Con Ed to discuss gas-leak response
  • Cuomo announces winners of clean energy grants


– The Los Angeles Times weighs in on crude oil by in California, which it says is in the “crosshairs” of the industry as fracking grows in the west and in Canada: “We can expect such serious accidents to continue if immediate changes are not made.”

UTILITY ADVOCATE BILL ADVANCES: The Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday that would establish an independent utility advocate to represent consumer interests in residential utility matters at the state and federal levels.

KREMER CHIDES N.Y. AS ANTI-ENERGY: Former state assemblyman Arthur (Jerry) Kremer wrote an essay in the summer issue of Energy Mining International criticizing opposition to wind, nuclear and fracking: “The resources necessary for meeting New York’s energy needs are being held hostage by a handful of vocal objectors, groups who distort the truth to derail any and every project, endless and arbitrary reviews, and costly litigation.”

CUOMO ANNOUNCES CLEAN ENERGY GRANTS: Nine upstate teams each won $55K and state support to bring their clean energy designs to market, the state announced yesterday. Winning projects in the state’s NEXUS program ranged from dehumidifiers to wired ceramic tiles.

IPPNY CONFERENCE TODAY: The Independent Power Producers are holding a conference in Albany today at the Desmond. Speakers include: Richard Kauffman, Chairman, Energy Policy Finance, Office of the NYS Governor; Craig Ivey, President Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.; Janet Gail Besser, Vice President Policy Government Affairs, New England Clean Energy Council.

– Today in NYC Sergej Mahnovski, Director at Con Ed’s Utility of the Future team and former head of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Plan­ning and Sustainability will discuss the future of the electric utility at 5:30 p.m. at the McGraw-Hill Building, Room 208, 1221 Ave. of the Americas.


OIL FUTURES SLIDE: Oil futures prices dropped with record supplies anticipated in the U.S. as a result of the fracking boom. The Wall Street Journal’s Nicole Friedman reports:

“Light, sweet crude for June delivery settled down 17 cents, or 0.2%, at $102.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The June contract expired at settlement on Tuesday. The July contract settled up 22 cents, or 0.2%, at $102.33 a barrel. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose 32 cents, or 0.3%, to $109.69 a barrel. U.S. oil supplies stood at 398.5 million barrels as of May 9, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

WATER FOR COPPER: The management of water is an increasingly large expense in copper mining, the Wall Street Journal’s John Miller reports.

“As mining companies probe remote areas for increasingly scarce minerals, they are investing billions of dollars for water. Moody’s Investors Service estimates that mining companies spent $12 billion in 2013, three times as much as 2009, on water management, including treatment facilities and pipelines.”

WILDCATTER MILLENNIALS: Silicon Valley’s got nothing on a Texas oil patch. With the fracking boom reshaping America’s domestic oil and gas market, young entrepreneurs are flocking to the fossil fuel business, Bloomberg reports.

COAL WILL STICK AROUND: Despite being one of the dirtiest forms of energy, Jeffrey Ball writes on that coal will be in use for awhile, especially in India and China.

OILFIELD DEATHS SPUR FED INVESTIGATION: From Bloomberg — “The Obama administration is investigating the health risks of hydraulic fracturing after at least four deaths among oilfield workers since 2010 in North Dakota and Montana. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said the workers were exposed to high levels of volatile hydrocarbons during the drilling process known as fracking.”

–Thanks to shale oil and gas including quantities extracted from the Bakken, the United States is poised to become energy independent in the not-so-distant future, Brian Kroshus writes in the Bismarck Tribune. It’s been talked about politically for a number of years by many administrations, and it may soon become a reality, he argues.

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LESS FLARING: Hess Corp. is showing off a natural gas plant that reduces the amount of flaring of natural gas in the oil fields of North Dakota. Many producers in the Bakken simply flare the gas since there is not enough infrastructure to capture it during the oil drilling process. That wastes natural resources industry is now looking to capture.

NOT IN MY GREAT LAKE: Michigan lawmakers are urging President Obama to prevent Canada from storing radioactive waste 110 miles from Port Huron, The Detroit Free Press reports.

“The Great Lakes Basin should not be a repository for permanent radioactive waste — that’s where we’re starting from,” Republican State Senator Phil Pavlov said. “There’s a huge concern.”

GERMANY HITS 74 PERCENT RENEWABLE: On May 11 Germany took 74 percent of its power from renewable sources, Utility Dive reports. Much of the energy was derived from wind and solar.

– Bangladesh in is the middle of a solar boom because it’s easier to create the infrastructure in a country that has so little. It’s mostly small-scale systems in a country that doesn’t the same type of energy grid as developed nations.

MODI GOOD FOR CLEAN ENERGY: Clean energy advocates are bullish on India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PV Magazine reports. The center-right leader called for a “clean energy revolution” in his campaign.

COOL VIDEO OF SOLAR ROADS: They may never become a reality, but they look really cool. They light up if a child or moose crosses the road.

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