Capital Energy: Storage expansion; Radiators; Keystone warrior

May 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

By Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

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FERC APPROVES NY STORAGE EXPANSION: Federal regulators on Thursday approved the expansion of a natural gas storage facility in salt caverns near the shores of the Finger Lakes. The underground storage facility is located near Seneca Lake and has housed gas 2,000 feet underground for about 40 years. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted approval to Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners to expand a gas storage project from 1.5 billion cubic feet to 2 billion cubic feet, enough to heat 20,000 homes.

WIRED RADIATOR: What began as a losing battle with an ancient New York City radiator could end up dramatically cutting costs and wasted heat for millions of city dwellers. The Cozy, a wired radiator cover invented by Marshall Cox of the NYC Urban Future Lab, allows users to control the heat coming out of their radiators and distributes steam heat more evenly through buildings. If used on a wide scale, Cox says the device could cut heating costs by 30 percent.


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ENVIRO LAWMAKER CAUCUS PUSHES FEDS: The New York State Caucus of Environmental Legislators wrote a letter to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy on proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants. The bipartisan group of 50 lawmakers (two GOP legislators signed the letter) asks for more stringent pollution controls.

“In part based upon our experience here in New York, we believe that the federal carbon pollution standard that the EPA has proposed for new power plants should be strengthened. We respectfully urge the EPA to match or exceed the baseline established by New York State’s power plant siting law.”

FRACKING INVESTIGATION: The truth about fracking’s safety is complex – and, in many ways, still a mystery, writes the Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski in the second of a three-part series on fracking in Pennsylvania:

“Scientists know that many homeowners complain that fracking has made their well water turn bad – but there is little proof that fracking is to blame. … Many researchers have long argued that fracking will help curb global warming as “clean” natural gas displaces coal as the fuel of choice for the nation’s power plants – but recent evidence indicates that methane leaks from natural gas facilities could undo all the good that the switch to gas will supposedly make. … And while few scientists worry that the chemicals left a mile underground in the fracking process will cause a chemical disaster anytime soon, they wonder what may happen decades from now.”

– And here’s an industry view of fracking in Pennsylvania: Tom Shepstone writes in Natural Gas Now that the “shale gas revolution” has transformed people’s lives for the better.

** A message from the Indian Point Energy Center: Balanced Energy Markets are Best for Consumers. An overreliance on one fuel source for electricity can easily result in power prices that are volatile and can rise suddenly because of extreme weather or other events. A balanced energy market is price stable and provides a reliable electric supply. Follow @Indian_Point **

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 and Follow us on Twitter at @Giambusso and @scottpwaldman.

OIL TRAINS TO RESUME AFTER DEADLY CRASH: As the one-year anniversary of the worst oil train disaster in recent memory approaches, the company purchasing the assets of the railroad responsible for the fiery derailment that claimed 47 lives in Quebec last July plans to resume oil shipments after track safety improvements are made, the firm’s top executive told The Associated Press. The company could start shipping non-hazardous good by next month and crude oil within two years.

– As crude oil shipments have proliferated and raised safety concerns across the country, railroads have refused to acknowledge their routes and frequencies, details that anyone patient enough to stand trackside could learn, Rob Davis reports for the Oregonian. Railroad companies have claimed that they’re prohibited by federal law from divulging those details for national security reasons, but they’re not.


– IPPNY’s two-day conference kicks off May 20 at 5:30 p.m. at Albany’s Desmond Hotel Conference Center, 660 Albany Shaker Road.

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 on Weds. May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the McGraw-Hill Building, Room 208, 1221 Ave. of the Americas, NYC.

UTILITY SAFETY MESSAGE RIDES IN PREAKNESS (via Politico): The jockey riding California Chrome, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby as well as the Preakness on Saturday, had the phrase “Call 811” on his racing uniform. The national number is used to locate utility lines before any digging project to avoid pipeline accidents. AGA wrote about the importance of having California Chrome spread the safety message:

KEYSTONE WARRIOR: Saul Elbein profiles Jane Kleeb for The New York Times Sunday magazine. She’s among the fiercest opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, and draws on her Republican roots and rural lifestyle to rally support among people from all over the pipeline route.

“What has kept the pipeline out of the ground so far, more than anything, has been Kleeb’s ability to convince mostly­ conservative farmers and ranchers that they are the ones being asked to bear all the risk of Canada’s energy expansion. If something goes wrong, she says, they’re the ones who are going to suffer,” Elbein writes.

– Times looks at teaching climate change in oil and coal country: Where coal and oil dominate local industry, Motoko Rich writes that local schools are weighing whether to teach children about the world they are inheriting.

NEXTGEN CLIMATE ACTION RUNS ADS IN D.C., WICHITA (via Politico): Alexander Burns and Andrew Restuccia report []: Environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer is running a new round of television ads in Washington — and Wichita, Kansas, the home base of Koch Industries, according to two sources tracking the political air war. Steyer’s political committee, NextGen Climate Action, has put down $20,000 to run ads in the D.C. market on May 18, Democratic and Republican media trackers said. The group has also reserved $250 worth of airtime — a token sum — in Wichita, where the company of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers is based. NextGen has regularly run climate- and Keystone-themed ads on D.C. television, especially on Sunday mornings, to target political elites tuning into the weekly political talk shows.

– Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s super PAC is set this week to detail its strategy for making climate change a prominent issue in the midterm elections, according to a source familiar with the issue, Andrew Restuccia reports for Politico.

PUTIN’S MARINE WINDFALL: When Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in March he picked up a maritime zone of underwater oil and gas that could be worth trillions of dollars, The New York Times’ William J. Broad reports. The move quietly gave “Russia dominion over vast oil and gas reserves while dealing a crippling blow to Ukraine’s hopes for energy independence.”

– Ukraine tensions boosted crude last week, Bloomberg reports:

“Brent for July settlement was 32 cents higher at $109.41 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 12:35 p.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was about 29 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day. The June contract expired (Thursday) after climbing 25 cents to $110.44.

WTI for June delivery rose 21 cents to $101.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have gained 1.8 percent this week. The U.S. benchmark crude’s July contract was at a discount of $8.09 to Brent on ICE.”

FRACKING PENALTY: People who disclose confidential information about hydraulic fracturing chemicals in North Carolina would be subject to criminal penalties and civil damages, under a bill in the state Legislature, Mike Lee reports for EnergyWire. The “Energy Modernization Act,” which was introduced last week, would make it a Class I felony to disclose trade secrets related to hydraulic fracturing,

FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT: College students have been increasingly pressuring their educational institutions to divest fossil fuel investments from their endowments, including Stanford University most recently. The pressure to shed investment in companies that mine for coal started at Swarthmore College, but students have yet to convince administrators or the board of trustees to follow suit, James Stewart reports for The New York Times.

IN TODAY’S FEDERAL REGISTER (via Politico): Later today, EPA will post its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking [] on what information should be disclosed about chemicals in hydraulic fracturing.

A TIME BEFORE TRAFFIC LIGHTS: Christopher Gray looks at the history of New York City’s traffic lights in the Times’ Streetscapes section. Prior to widespread use in the 1920’s and 1930’s, he writes, “it is clear that, except for a few policemen, traffic regulation amounted to ‘hey, watch out!’”

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– Audrey Zibelman was was appointed to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Board of Directors last week.

– A plan to roll back manure regulations on small dairies announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a yogurt summit in 2012 may be in violation of federal laws, court records show.

** A message from the Indian Point Energy Center: What makes a balanced energy market? New York’s electricity market draws on power generated by Natural Gas, Coal, Oil and Renewables (such as Wind and Solar), as well as Hydro and Nuclear Power. The key to a balanced electricity market that works is diversity — no single energy source comes to dominate the market or dictate pricing. Diversity also ensures reliable around-the-clock, baseload power by balancing out the variability of renewables. There are many times, for example, when virtually no generation from wind or solar is occurring. Baseload plants fueled by natural gas, coal or nuclear might be all we have to power our region on cold, calm nights when renewables aren’t producing. Learn more about the true value of Indian Point’s power to our area, follow @Indian_Point **

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