Capital Energy: State meets greens; Indian Point’s tax breaks end

June 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

By Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

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STATE HOLDS OLIVE BRANCH TO GREEN GROUPS: The state wants to work with a prominent environmental group to put its lawsuit over a proposed crude oil heating facility on hold. On Monday, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Global Partners over the approval of a crude oil heating facility at the Port of Albany. Earthjustice claimed there was sufficient evidence for the state to order a thorough environmental review of the project, even though D.E.C. officials initially declared it was not needed. On Tuesday, the state asked Earthjustice to agree to a stay in the lawsuit, essentially freezing any action until September. That’s when the state says it will decide on whether or not officials will rescind a negative declaration on the project and conduct a full environmental quality review.

– Meanwhile, oil industry groups are lining up at the White House to push ahead on oil train car standards.


  • Capital Energy: Astorino blasts energy tax
  • Capital Energy: Oil train secrecy; Carbon prices
  • Capital Energy: Capacity zone battle; Brownfield legislation


EMISSIONS-CUT BILL: Queens councilman Costa Constantinides will introduce a bill today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. The bill codifies recommendations from the IPCC and PlaNYC.

IT’S THE EBIES: The unsung heroes of building energy efficiency were feted by the Urban Green Council Monday night during an awards ceremony at the Hard Rock Cafe at Times Square. Building managers, engineers and one teacher went home with the prize for bringing dramatically greater energy efficiency to existing building stock.

INDIAN POINT TAX DEAL EXPIRES: Entergy Corp.’s tax agreements on the Indian Point nuclear reactors, which expire this year and next, provide a $19 million tax break for the Louisiana-based energy giant, David McCay Wilson reports for the Journal News. The reactors, valued at $1.7 billion by the town of Cortlandt, would provide $48 million in property-tax revenue to local communities, fire department and schools. But Entergy in 2013 paid just $29 million, courtesy of the tax agreements called PILOTs, for “payment in lieu of taxes,” which were struck more than a decade ago, to resolve a challenge to the town’s assessed values. Now, officials are gearing up to negotiate a new deal. If no agreement is struck, then the plants will return to the tax rolls, at their current assessed values.

– National Grid helps Habitat for Humanity rehabilitate a home in Roosevelt, Newsday reports.


BATTERIES ON THE RISE: IEEE Spectrum, a trade publication for electrical engineers, looks at the rising prominence and lowering price of energy storing batteries as an alternative to power plants.

A CALL FOR GAS EXPORTING: So says Vali R. Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in a New York Times op-ed extolling the virtues of America’s shale revolution.

“The United States must start now to develop a global energy strategy, designed to compete with Russia and to provide both Europe and Asia with viable alternatives to Russian gas. One possibility is that America could help China develop its own shale gas. Most important, Congress should approve the export of America’s natural gas and support the building of terminals for shipping it. And America should, like Russia, be looking now to seal long-term gas deals with Europe and Asia.”

DROP IN CANADIAN OIL SANDS PRODUCTION FORECAST: The Canadian oil sands industry on Tuesday trimmed its 2030 production forecast by nearly 8 percent, blaming “cost competitiveness and delays in project schedules” amid an ongoing environmentalist campaign to defeat new heavy fuel infrastructure, Elana Schor reports for Energywire. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ annual outlook, released Tuesday, projected oil sands production of 4.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2030, up from 1.9 million bpd last year. The industry group’s 2013 report, released at a peak of confidence in White House approval of the stalled Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, had pointed to 5.2 million bpd of oil sands production by 2030.

BUFFETT READY TO DOUBLE WIND, SOLAR BET: Bloomberg reports that Warren Buffet is ready to commit another $15 billion of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. capital to wind, solar and other renewable energy.

“Describing the company’s increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas (Monday), Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they’d committed: $15 billion. Without missing a beat, Buffett responded: ‘There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.’”

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.

THE E.P.A. CURSE IS ACTUALLY A GIFT: Carl Hulse and Michael Shear write about the political fallout of the new carbon emissions rules in the New York Times. The E.P.A. proposal to reduce carbon pollution from power plants was deemed a political gift from the Obama administration to Republicans running for Senate seats in the coal-producing states of Kentucky and West Virginia, and an anchor around the necks of their Democratic opponents. Elsewhere, the threat of higher electricity bills and Republican attacks about another federal power grab were supposed to send Democrats scurrying for cover and distance from the White House.

However, it somes states with competitive Senate races, such as Michigan, Democrats say growing public support for action to curb climate change—coupled with pronouncements by Republican candidates that human activity is not contributing to it, or their denials that the world is growing warmer—could help Democrats this year. They say it will definitely make the party stronger heading into the 2016 presidential election.

GAS DEMAND GROWTH SLOWER THAN EXPECTED: Bloomberg reports on a new I.E.A. report that says natural gas demand will grow more slowly than expected due to weaker economic growth as well as competition from renewables and coal.

“Gas use will climb by 2.2 percent annually through 2019 from 2013 after last year posting the slowest growth among fossil fuels, the (I.E.A. said Tuesday) in its medium-term gas market report. Consumption will be driven by non-developed countries, which will see their market share rise to 57 percent of the total from parity in 2007.”

SHALE RAIL MAP: The U.S. E.I.A. released this map of rail routes, loading bays and delivery points for U.S. shale deposits.

ANALYSTS BET ON ENERGY OVER SP, Bloomberg reports: “The survey, conducted by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, showed 34 percent of buyout executives favoring energy over investment areas such as health care, consumer goods and financial companies. Of the 119 investors, 52 percent said the SP 500 index of large U.S. companies will fall below 1,900 in six months. The benchmark closed Tuesday at 1,951.27.”

RENEWABLES POWERING AFRICA: Only 28 percent of Kenyans are connected to the national grid, Kagondu Njagi reports for Reuters. And these lucky ones mostly live in urban centres, where there is easy access and good infrastructure, officials say. However, working with communities, the government has passed a policy that aims to provide 60 percent of rural communities’ energy needs from renewable sources by setting up primary schools—where many members of the community meet and interact—as incubation centres for renewable energy.



– Natural gas slips again: More reports of cooler-than-expected weather in central North America sent natural gas down for a second day, Bloomberg reports. “Natural gas for July delivery fell 11.5 cents to close at $4.53 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement price since May 27. Volume for all futures traded was 22 percent above the 100-day average at 3:30 p.m. Gas is up 7.1 percent this year.”

– Oil is down, too: Nicole Friedman writes in the Wall Street Journal that domestic is down but holding steady.

“Light, sweet crude for July delivery settled down 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $104.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange fell 47 cents, or 0.4%, to $109.52 a barrel.”

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