Has Anything Changed? A Year After Sandy, Are We Ready for the Next Big Storm?

Written by Wilder Fleming on . Posted in Energy, Environment, Government Operations, Public Safety, Technology, Transportation

In June Mayor Bloomberg’s office released a $19.5 billion plan with over 250 recommendations for preparing the city in the face of climate change and severe storms. The proposals included building a giant levee to protect Lower Manhattan, creating wetlands along the East River and erecting floodgates along Staten Island. But measures like these would take years to implement. So with hurricane season again upon us, how is New York better equipped to handle the next natural disaster that could… [More]

Report: Mothballing of Dunkirk Plant Made July Heat Wave’s Impact Worse

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Energy, Features, Heard Around Town, News

With the public comment period ending today for the Public Service Commission’s RFP on NRG’s coal-powered Dunkirk power plant, the company is pointing to a new report detailing how the closure of several of the plant’s generating units exacerbated the strain of a severe heat wave in July. NRG wants to repower the western New York coal-burning facility with cleaner natural gas, but the PSC is also weighing a competing proposal from National Grid to upgrade local transmission lines. The… [More]

In the Dark: Why Solar Legislation Stalled in Albany

Written by Mylique Sutton on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Energy, Environment, Uncategorized

With major legislation to expand solar power stalling again in Albany this year, some New Yorkers are wondering when the solar industry will a brighter future. The state Senate and Assembly passed similar solar bills this past session, with the Assembly working closely with the governor’s office, but the two sides did not reach a compromise. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the chair of the Energy Committee, said that there was only one difference between the bills. However, working out the kinks… [More]

Expert Roundtable: Utilities

Written by City & State on . Posted in Energy

Garry Brown Chairman, Public Service Commission Q: The Public Service Commission is playing a key role with the New York Energy Highway. Where are you in the process? GB: In April the commission took action on several major items highlighted in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway Blueprint. The actions will ease transmission congestion, which will help lower downstate electricity prices and support the development of clean energy projects throughout the state; plan for possible major power plant retirements to maintain… [More]

Scorecard: Utilities

Written by City & State on . Posted in Energy

The Players The City The top official on energy issues in the Bloomberg administration has been Sergej Mahnovski, the mayor’s former top energy policy advisor, who last fall was promoted to director of the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, which oversees the administration’s innovative PlaNYC program. Mahnovski, an expert on smart grid and renewable energy, has continued to coordinate energy policy. The electricity utility covering most of the city is Con Edison, which is headed by CEO Kevin Burke.… [More]

Bracing for the Next Storm

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Energy, Uncategorized

There is little disagreement that New York’s electric utilities need to take major steps to prepare for the next major storm— but the unanswered question is how to pay for it. Take Con Edison, for example. The utility company, which covers much of New York City and some surrounding suburbs, submitted a proposed rate increase early this year that would bring in $400 million from customers starting in 2014.The company’s submission to the Public Service Commission also requested permission to… [More]

Toothless No More? Cuomo Boosts Public Service Commission

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Energy, Environment

Largely overlooked in the hoopla over this year’s third straight on-time state budget—which featured a minimum wage hike, middle class tax cuts and education reforms—was another measure that gives more power to the state’s little-noticed energy regulator. The changes, which were recommended after an investigation into the performance of utility companies during Superstorm Sandy, give the Public Service Commission a new toolbox to work with: larger penalties for violations by utilities, more comprehensive reviews and higher standards in preparing for… [More]