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POLITICO New York Energy: LI solar moves forward -- Storm recovery -- PSEG power play

By Marie J. French and Danielle Muoio | 03/05/2018 09:57 AM EDT

LONG ISLAND SOLAR MOVES FORWARD — Newsday's Mark Harrington: "Tree clearing at a 100-acre wooded lot in Mastic is expected to restart Monday morning after a state judge lifted a restraining order issued last week. The move by state Supreme Court Justice William G. Ford Friday afternoon clears the way for construction of a long-contested solar farm on the property to begin. Tree clearing on the southern end of the property had started Wednesday, with several acres cleared until Ford issued a temporary restraining order stopping work at the site on Thursday. Opponents, including residents near the site on Moriches-Middle Island Road, the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization and the Pine Barrens Society, have said clear-cutting one of the largest privately held forest lands in Brookhaven violates town code. They said solar farms should be built on cleared land or rooftops first." Read more here.

STORM WATCH: Nearly 100 people, including more than 50 at a Sweet 16 party, were evacuated from an Amityville yacht club amid high floodwaters. More than 50,000 customers in upstate New York are still without power following a record-breaking Friday snowfall. Nearly 100,000 customers remained without power in the Lower Hudson Valley on Sunday and officials say it could be Tuesday night before all the lights and heat are back on. Cuomo deployed the National Guard to the Hudson Valley Sunday afternoon. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano is not happy with the speed at which Con Edison is getting power back to the city's residents.

POWER MOVE: PSEG TELLS TRENTON TO MOVE IT — POLITICO's Danielle Muoio: PSEG alerted investors on Friday that it's canceling future capital projects for one of its nuclear plants in Salem County as a result of the Legislature delaying action on a controversial nuclear subsidy bill. Senate President Stephen Sweeney unexpectedly pulled the nuclear subsidy bill from a Senate vote on Monday. The bill would allow plants to apply for an annual subsidy estimated to cost the state roughly $300 million per year. Exelon Generation and PSEG Power held a co-owners meeting on Wednesday and decided to cancel all capital projects on the Salem plant in Lower Alloways Creek that are not necessary to meet regulatory requirements, PSEG wrote in an 8-K filing. Capital projects refer to long-term maintenance work meant to extend the plant's shelf life.... PSEG Nuclear anticipates it will also take similar action for its Hope Creek plant, which is also located in Salem County and is wholly owned by PSEG Power, according to the filing. PSEG said it may reverse the decision if lawmakers pass a subsidy bill that will benefit the Salem plant. "Exelon Generation and PSEG Nuclear agreed that the funding of these projects may be restored when and if legislation is enacted in New Jersey that sufficiently values the attributes of nuclear generation and Salem benefits from such legislation," the filing read. Read more here.

— The New Jersey Coalition for Fair Energy, which represents energy giants like NRG, said the filing shows PSEG is "holding their states hostage." "It's ironic that PSEG will pass on lavish dividends to their New York-based investors while at the same time threatening to withhold much-needed investments from local communities," spokesman Matt Fosen said in a statement.

— "This is a shameful ploy by PSEG to get the NJ Legislature to pass the nuclear subsidy bill," Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said in a statement.

GOOD MONDAY MORNING: Let us know if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dmuoio@politico.com and mfrench@politico.com.

And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one they can sign up here.

AROUND NEW YORK:

— New York City is calling on residents in parts of Brooklyn and Queens to cut back their water use during rainstorms by postponing showers and other chores.

— The federal corruption trial of former gubernatorial aide Joe Percoco and three corporate executives has reignited opposition to the CPV power plant.

— A new owner has big plans for the former titanium and iron mines in the hamlet of Tahawus, and it could end the controversy over the storage of old tanker cars on the rail line to the mines.

— After boosting recycling, Lewis County solid waste officials are now proposing to charge for recyclables to help cover processing costs of the higher volumes.

— The Moreau Town Clerk is searching for a way to bring order to the 16 different sets of water bills she must send out every year.

— An increasing demand for water has the Village of Old Westbury taking new measures to boost its supply, such as installing a new water storage tank that will hold a million gallons.

— LETTER: Former Assemblyman Jerry Kremer, chair of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, says solar and wind would come too late to replace Indian Point.

— Northrop Grumman won't have to face legal claims over large-scale drinking water contamination on Long Island, a New York federal appeals court ruled Friday, finding the local water district's concerted response long predated its suit.

— A national photonics initiative based in Rochester received a nod of encouragement Friday from the Pentagon official overseeing this and other manufacturing institutes nationally.

— St. Lawrence Gas Co. Inc. wants more time to expand farther in Franklin County.

— The state Supreme Court has cleared the path for a controversial and long-contested solar farm in Mastic, Long Island.

— The public will get an update on the status of Lake Ontario's salmon and trout fisheries this month.

— An engineer will outline the technological limitations of the Niagara Falls Water Board's failing wastewater treatment plant as the state moves forward with the first phase of the $20 million infrastructure upgrade.

— The Department of Environmental Conservation will review CWM Chemical Services' application dig a new hazardous waste landfill in July. Niagara County and local residents are officially opposing the application.

— OPINION: States like New York should impose a fee on plastic bags.

ACROSS THE RIVER:

— The New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy committee will take up two bills today aimed at encouraging electric vehicle adoption in the state.

— A study shows New Jersey's charging infrastructure for electric vehicles lags behind other states.

— Environmental groups have requested that the state Supreme Court hear its appeal of the state's controversial Exxon settlement.

— Roughly 100,000 residents were still without power on Sunday.

OIL DROVE BEARS EARS DECISION — The New York Times' Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman: "Even before President Trump officially opened his high-profile review last spring of federal lands protected as national monuments, the Department of Interior was focused on the potential for oil and gas exploration at a protected Utah site, internal agency documents show." Read more here.

EPA MULLS REMOVING COAL ASH SAFEGUARDS — The Washington Post's Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin: "The Environmental Protection Agency proposed major changes Thursday to an Obama-era initiative regulating coal ash waste, giving states and utilities more latitude in how they dispose of the toxic substance. The proposal marks a major policy shift with ramifications for both the coal industry and communities across the country." Read more here.

— Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke abruptly postponed an oil and gas lease sale near Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

— The EPA agreed to restore funding for the Bay Journal after facing pressure from Senate Democrats.

NOR'EASTER WIPES OUT POWER — The Wall Street Journal's Sara Randazzo: "Northeast and Mid-Atlantic utility crews raced to restore power Sunday for at least 750,000 customers as a strong storm subsided and moved off the coast." Read more here.

CLIMATE CHANGE NO THREAT TO CHEVRON — Bloomberg's Kevin Crowley: "Climate change is critical to future energy markets but its effect on Chevron Corp.'s oil and gas business will be minimal for decades to come, according to a company report." Read more here.

LOUISIANA'S ENERGY SHAKEDOWN — The Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley: "Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was elected in 2015 with substantial support from trial lawyers, and he's now repaying them in kind. The former minority leader of the state's House of Representatives is effectively extorting oil and gas companies to backfill the budget while engineering what could be a handsome payday for his friends at a politically connected law firm." Read more here.

THE MOST POWERFUL WIND TURBINE — Greentech Media's Justin Gerdes: "GE Renewable Energy made a bold statement on Thursday: It intends to lead in the offshore wind market. The company plans to deploy what would be the world's most powerful offshore wind turbine -- the 12-megawatt Haliade-X -- in 2021." Read more here.

— The world's first commercial wind farm, the Hywind in Scotland, has shown how powerful offshore wind can be.

PLASTIC STRAW BAN SPREADS — The New York Times' Daniel Victor: "The latest is Malibu, Calif. Before that came Seattle; Davis and San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Fla. They're all cities that have banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants. Straws, routinely placed in glasses of water or soda, represent a small percentage of the plastic that's produced and consumed but often end up on beaches and in oceans." Read more here.

VA MAY LIFT DOMINION RATE FREEZE — UtilityDive's Robert Walton: "The Virginia Senate on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul and unfreeze Dominion Energy's rates, and to spur investment in renewables." Read more here.

DRONES TAKE OUT TRASH — The New York Times' Richard Martyn-Hemphill and Henrik Pryser Libell: "Norway's fjords have long inspired the country's artists and drawn streams of tourists. ... But lost in the depths of the fjord in Oslo, ... the fjord is filled with garbage, like unwanted cars. And that has alarmed environmentalists." Read more here.

To view online:
https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-energy/2018/03/05/li-solar-moves-forward-040828

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