Energy Committee Update - February 4, 2015
- Governor Cuomo on January 21st issued his combined State of the State and Budget Address titled “State of Opportunity”. The briefing material included a presentation book, State budget (appropriations), and budget language (Article VII). The budget did not include an early repeal of 18-a. The Business Council has made the early repeal a priority. The Business Council has requested that the administration address this issue in the upcoming 21 day amendments.
- Contained in the State of Opportunity Book were a number of proposals and initiatives which do not require statutory amendments or appropriations. The proposals include the following:
- 76West, a Clean Energy Business Competition in the Southern Tier
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will establish a $20 million clean energy business competition to bring new jobs to the Southern Tier. The competition will be similar to the 43Northcompetition, named after the latitudinal line that runs through Western New York, which was part of the Buffalo Billion initiative. Which intends to drive new economic opportunities to Buffalo and the Western New York region. It features $5 million in prize money; a top prize of $1 million, six $500,000 prizes and four$250,000 prizes.
“We set out to attract 1,000 applicants for the competition and we blew that number right out of the water,” said 43North Steering Committee Chairman Jordan Levy. “I think the huge response 43North has received demonstrates the viability of our strategy to build a local entrepreneurial eco-system, and what we have to offer startups in terms of support, talent, mentorship and services, and a low cost environment to help get businesses started.”
43North started when the New York Power Authority (NYPA) approved $5.4 million in funding towards the competition. The funding came out of revenues for un-utilized hydroelectric power. In addition, the NYPA is funding awards of more than $8 million to more than 20 Western New York enterprises to help job creation and capital investments in the region.
- The proposed Article VII language contains the following recommendations:
- (S.2008 / A.3008 Part O p.34) Authorizes and directs the Comptroller to receive for deposit to the credit of the General Fund a Directs a payment of up to $913,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to the General Fund. This transfer has been authorized for a number of years to cover the costs of West Valley.
- (S.2008 / A.3008, Part P p.34) Authorizes $19.7 million in assessments on electric utilities and gas corporations to fund NYSERDA’s research, development and demonstration, and policy and planning programs, Fuel NY and DEC's climate change program.
- The fee is to be assessed upon:
- Gas corporations, as defined in subdivision 11 of section 2 of the public service law (PSL)
- Electric corporations as defined in subdivision 13 of section 2 of the PSL,
- If such gas corporations and electric corporations have gross revenues from intrastate utility operations in excess of $500,000
- The assessment shall not exceed one cent per one thousand cubic feet of gas sold and .010 cent per kilowatt-hour of electricity sold by such corporations in their intrastate utility operations in calendar year 2013.
- The proceeds of the assessment shall be used in the following manner:
- $1 million to the state general fund for services and expenses of the department of environmental conservation
- $691,000 to the University of Rochester laboratory for laser
- Additionally proceeds have been promised to:
- Fuel NY program which in 2014 made $17 million in funding available to help retail gas stations improve their back-up power capacity so they can remain open during major storms
- NYSERDA’s research, development and demonstration, and policy and planning programs
- (S. 2005 / A.3005, Part P.§20 p. 60) Transfers $36 million of RGGI proceeds will be transfer to the State, including. $13 million will be transferred to Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to cover revenue shortfalls and to increase the EPF.
- (S.2008 / A. 3008, PartW. p.42) Authorizes the Long Island Power Authority(LIPA) to issue special securitized restructuring bonds that would reduce the interest rates paid on LIPA’s debt.
- (S.2009 / A.3009, Part Z.p.114 )Clarifies that solar power purchase agreements are exempt from State and local sales tax.
- The Environmental Committee Budget write up contains information of the proposed Title V and SPDES fee increases.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), on January 27, 2015 filed with the New York State Department of State; new rules which define a permitting program for the siting, construction, and operation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. The newly filed Part 570 is effective February 26, 2015.
The regulations largely incorporate the National Fire Protection Association standards on this subject. Part 570 was amended this fall to provide an upper limit of 70,000 gallons on the amount of LNG that a facility is permitted to store. The new rules will allow LNG storage facilities to be built in New York City for the first time since a moratorium on LNG facilities was imposed in 1973.
Finger Lakes LPG Storage, LLC proposes to construct and operate a new underground liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located on NYS Routes 14 and 14A west of Seneca Lake in the Town of Reading, Schuyler County, and approximately 2.5 miles north of the Village of Watkins Glen. The storage facility will use existing underground caverns in the Syracuse salt formation created by US Salt (an affiliate of Finger Lakes) and its predecessors' salt production operations. The existing caverns are located near the western shore of Lake Seneca, and associated surface facilities would extend uphill to the west with compressors, brine ponds, and distribution operations along Route 14 south of the junction of Route 14A, and along Route 14A west of the intersection with Route 14.
Pursuant to 6 NYCRR 624.4(b), a pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference will be held on Thursday, February 12, 2015, at 10:00 AM, at the Holiday Inn Express, 2666 Corning Road, Horseheads, New York, 14845. If needed, the Issues Conference will continue on Friday, February 13, 2015. The purpose of the issues conference is to determine party status for any person who has properly filed a petition (as indicated below) and to define the scope of issues, if any, that require adjudication with regard to the application before the Department. Please note that participation at the issues conference is limited to Department staff, applicant, and those persons requesting party status.