Capital Energy: Longer pipeline from Penn.; Biden in New York City

June 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

By Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

Good morning! Welcome to Capital Energy, your daily guide to news on the manufacture, consumption and regulation of energy in New York. Sign up here.

PIPELINE EXPANDS: A proposed natural gas pipeline that would transport gas fracked in Pennsylvania through New York and into New England will be about 50 percent longer than previously planned. The pipeline, known as the Northeast Energy Direct Project, will compete with the Constitution pipeline, which is close to receiving federal approval and would run from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County.

Originally, the pipeline was to have run from Schoharie County to near Boston, a distance of about 250 miles. Now, however, plans call for the pipeline to begin in Pennsylvania and run 117 more miles. According to Kinder Morgan, the company proposing the project, the Northeast pipeline will now include the 117-mile-long supply link from Schoharie County into Pennsylvania. It also calls for new compressor stations to be built in Schoharie and Delaware counties.


  • Reports: 53,000 shutoffs this year for unpaid utility bills
  • Capital Energy: State meets greens; Indian Point’s tax breaks end
  • Capital Energy: Astorino blasts energy tax


BIDEN AT GOLDMAN ENERGY SUMMIT: Addressing a room full of some of the most influential investment bankers in the world, Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged investment in infrastructure and renewable energy to harness the U.S. energy boom for decades to come. “You will determine the outcome of this energy transformation more than any other group of people in the world,” Biden told hundreds of people gathered at Goldman Sachs North American Energy Summit at the company’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. “You can help make sure America continues to be an energy superpower.”

SENATE OK’S RITCHIE NUCLEAR BILL: State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that she “beat back a challenge” by nuclear opponents and passed a bill allowing Oswego County more room to negotiate tax deals with nuclear plant operators. “The bill (S.6660-A) extends for 15 years a state law that has allowed the county and school districts to enter into multi-year agreements on property tax payments by the plant operators, providing stability for local budgets as well as the operating companies’ bottom lines. The law, originally enacted in 2001, was set to expire next year.”

CHARGING STATIONS: NYPA and NYSERDA rolled out 100 charging stations the state is helping develop as part of a larger effort to encourage more electric car use. The Albany Times Union reports.


POLL: AMERICANS WOULD PAY TO CURB CLIMATE CHANGE: (via Politico) A new Bloomberg National Poll [] found that by a 2 to 1 margin, Americans said they would “pay more for energy if it would mean a reduction in pollution from carbon emissions.” The poll is among the first to be conducted after the Obama administration unveiled its plan to require states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, but does not gauge voter support of the rules.

DETROIT CALLS FOR ALUMINUM: With tougher fuel efficiency standards in place automakers are making a big push to replace steel with aluminum in vehicles, The Wall Street Journal reports. An industry report calls for 18 percent of cars and pickup trucks to have aluminum bodies within 10 years, compared to less than 1 percent now.

GOOGLE TO INVEST IN GRID TECH: After acquiring Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, Google is planning more of a push into the world of grid technology, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The company is “in the early stages of building software and hardware tools to manage power lines and other infrastructure,” said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The technology is being developed by Google’s Energy Access team and led by Arun Majumdar, vice president of the company’s energy unit, the people said.”

– So is the D.O.E. The U.S. Department of Energy is dropping $10 million into grid software projects, Bloomberg’s Justin Doom reports.

“The agency is investing in six projects in five states—California, Hawaii, Missouri, North Carolina and Washington—to implement software that improves synchrophasor technology to monitor power grids, according to an e-mailed statement today. Synchrophasors measure voltage and frequency on grids.”

NATIONAL GRID EXECS MAKING BIG CHECKS: The Boston Globe’s Erin Ailworth reports that after generating steady profits, National Grid C.E.O. Steve Holliday “earned $7.8 million in the last fiscal year, up 56 percent from about $5 million the previous year, according to a recent financial filing. Tom King, executive director of National Grid’s U.S. subsidiary, headquartered in Waltham [Massachusetts] earned $6.8 million, up 58 percent from $4.3 million the previous year.”

Talk to us. If you have a story in the world of New York energy, we want to hear it. Email tips, scoops, ideas and complaints to swaldman@capitalnewyork and Follow us on Twitter at @Giambusso and @scottpwaldman.

FEDS HELPED SHALE BOOM: Steven T. Corneliussen writes in Physics Today that a recent omission in a Wall Street Journal op-ed of the government’s role in the shale boom ignores the impact Uncle Sam had in developing hydraulic fracturing.

“The U.S. Department of Energy recalls that early attempts to apply hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, ‘to gas shale were … pioneered by D.O.E. research and demonstration project cost-sharing with industry.” The Breakthrough Institute calls the shale-gas boom “the product of over 25 years of federal agencies and programs driving technology development in collaboration with private gas companies.”

– WSJ ridicules environmentalist: Robert Bryce argues in Journal op-ed that environmentalist Bill McKibben’s call to cut carbon use 20-fold is mathematically daunting.

CRUDE OIL SHIPBUILDING: Shipping operators and investors are pouring billions of dollars into building oceangoing crude-oil tankers—taking advantage of low shipbuilding prices and scrambling to get ahead of the unfolding North American energy boom, Costas Paris reports for the Wall Street Journal. New drilling and extraction technology has unlocked vast reservoirs of crude oil and natural gas in the U.S. and Canada. This has triggered plans for a handful of liquefied natural gas projects in both countries. Canada, meanwhile, is seeking to boost its crude exports. And the U.S. has recently said it is considering lifting a long-standing oil-export ban.

– But oil by barge is increasingly drawing scrutiny amid safety concerns. An increasing amount of crude is moved by barge, including the Athabasca on the Mississippi River. The ships can be tough to control. In a recent collision, barge captains tried for five minutes to steer out of each other’s way in a slow motion crash that spilled 636,000 liters of heavy crude.

OIL SPILL DOCUMENTS SOUGHT: A federal judge has denied ExxonMobil’s bid to dismiss a government lawsuit and instead ordered the oil giant to hand over documents going back decades on a pipeline that ruptured last year and inundated an Arkansas town with oil, Mica Rosenberg reports for Reuters. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled on Tuesday that the company must hand over requested information on the entire 850-mile (1,370-km) Pegasus pipeline, which spilled about 5,000 barrels of crude oil in a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas, in March 2013.

NO DEATH SPIRAL: Utilities are worried about a “death spiral,” but they shouldn’t be, Steven Nadel writes at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy blog. Still, the industry and their regulators will need to make substantial changes in the next few years in order to continue providing quality service at a reasonable price, while providing utilities reasonable returns on their investments.

SOLAR FEES ANGER: A push to impose fees on solar customers is causing outrage in Utah. Fees levied by utilities on customers who “spin the meter backward” is becoming the next battleground over renewables.

OREGON DEMOCRATS PUSH FOR OIL TRAIN FIREFIGHTERS: U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Oregon Democrats, are asking for the National Transportation Safety Board’s help to ensure first responders get the information they need to keep the public safe from oil train accidents, Rob Davis reports for The Oregonian. Wyden and Merkley both say a recent emergency federal order didn’t go far enough. The order required railroads to tell firefighters where they move trains carrying more than 1 million gallons of volatile North Dakota oil. But oil from other regions is also increasingly moving by rail, posing spill risks to places such as the Columbia River Gorge. Union Pacific, which moves Utah oil through the Columbia Gorge to Portland, didn’t have to report to firefighters in the state the routes or volumes of Utah crude it moves.

OPEC HOLDS: Delegates of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to roll over the group’s production quota, maintaining the group’s current official production output.



– Domestic crude is up, but it’s discount to European crude widened after being at low levels this week, Bloomberg reports.

“W.T.I. for July delivery climbed 5 cents to end at $104.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange … Brent for July settlement gained 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $109.95 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange … The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.55 to W.T.I..”

WANT MORE ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT COVERAGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY? To learn more about how to get bite-size “whiteboard” alerts that focus specifically on energy and environment issues sent directly to your inbox, please contact Lauren Englander at

Comments are closed.