Geo News

Boston: New City Buildings Must be Carbon-Neutral October 21 2019, 0 Comments

Boston’s updated Climate Action Plan calls for decarbonizing all new city-owned buildings, including city-funded affordable housing, which could cut citywide emissions nearly 40% by 2050.

Other building policies would be to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation in municipal buildings, strengthen green building zoning requirements to a zero net carbon standard, develop a carbon emissions performance standard to decarbonize existing large buildings, expand workforce development programs for building decarbonization and advocate for state building policies that align with carbon neutrality by 2050.

In addition to building sector policy updates, greener transportation and energy supply are also addressed in the plan.

Thanks to Utility Dive (2019 10 16) to alerting us to this news item.

NGrid Communications Slammed October 21 2019, 0 Comments

From Marie French, Politico New York Energy (2019 10 18):

Two Public Service Commissioners criticized National Grid's approach to a de-facto moratorium on new gas service downstate during a meeting on Thursday. The commissioners lambasted the utility for abruptly imposing a halt to new gas service. The PSC also endorsed, by a 4-1 vote, a one-commissioner order directing National Grid to reconnect 1,157 customers who were denied gas hookups. The order provides a remedy for small commercial and residential customers who previously had service but moved to a different location or had disconnected during renovations that didn't increase their gas usage. "I believe that this was an intentional, chaotic, confusing, pipeline approval strategy," said Public Service Commissioner Tracey Edwards, who is from Long Island. "I think that was just — it was mean." Grid officials have said they cannot safely provide additional firm gas service on Long Island and in Brooklyn and Queens without approvals for the controversial Northeast Supply Enhancement project to bring more supply to the region. The utility stopped processing new or increased gas service applications following the Department of Environmental Conservation's denial of a key permit for the pipeline in May.

—Bloomberg highlights the case of Providence House, a nonprofit that provides housing for homeless mothers and can't start operations because of a lack of gas. "The nonprofit took its case to the state's Public Service Commission... It looks like the move is paying off: In late September, the agency ordered National Grid to turn on the gas.


NYISO Proposes NY Carbon Pricing October 14 2019, 0 Comments

A new study, led by energy policy and economics expert Dr. Susan Tierney of the Analysis Group, finds several key benefits of carbon pricing. Read the key findings.

The study was cited in a NYISO proposal to put a carbon charge on fossil fuel burning proving “carbon pricing helps New York meet clean energy goals faster, more reliably, and at a lower cost."

The NYISO proposal puts a carbon charge on fossil fuel burning for electricity generation but not for on-site burning for heating buildings and internal combustion engines. Thus, it increases the price of electricity used to power heat pumps and electric vehicles but not the gas, propane or oil used for heating and the gasoline for motor vehicles that contributes significantly to high greenhouse gas emissions.

This could lead to unintended consequences by retarding the beneficial electrification of the heating and transportation sectors. This issue is not addressed in the key findings document.

See the Analysis Group Summary for Policy Makers.

Thanks to Politico New York Energy (2019 10 08) for alerting us to this item.

Rep. Tonko Optimistic on Tax Credit Extensions October 14 2019, 0 Comments

From Politico New York Energy (2019 10 09):

Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat representing New York, says he's optimistic targeted pieces of clean energy legislation will move through Congress in the coming months, including an extension of tax credits for both solar and wind.
Here is the text of H.R.3961 - Renewable Energy Extension Act of 2019. Note that the geothermal heat pump tax credits would also be extended as part of the extension of Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Cuomo Orders National Grid to Restore Gas Service October 14 2019, 0 Comments

National Grid faces millions of dollars in fines and must immediately provide natural gas service to 1,157 customers who were denied it as part of a moratorium declared by the company as it seeks state approval for a contested new gas pipeline.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the measures on Friday afternoon as part of a preliminary finding by the state Public Service Commission, which is investigating the veracity of an impending gas shortage declared by the company and complaints by thousands of customers awaiting gas service. "National Grid has acted in bad faith throughout this process," Cuomo declared in ordering the company to restore or provide service to those deemed eligible under state public service law.

SANE Energy issued this response.

Attend PSC Meeting October 17 October 07 2019, 0 Comments

Renewable Heat Now is organizing folks to attend the October Public Service Commission meeting, where the Commission is expected to order New York's utilities to take over the heat pump incentive programs as part of the New Efficiency: New York proceeding.

Contact or click here for more information.

Thank You Senator James Sanders! October 07 2019, 0 Comments

New York State Senator James Sanders and stakeholders from the solar and geo industries were successful in sending off a letter this week to Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and others pressing them to delay the phase down on the federal renewable energy tax credits. It was signed by 49 Assembly Members and 27 Senators.

Thank you to all NY-GEO members who reached out to their local legislators.

Ngas Worse for Climate Than Oil or Propane October 07 2019, 0 Comments

New York's recently signed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) includes groundbreaking methods for valuing the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate. The more accurate and relevant criteria in the CLCPA includes rating greenhouse gases on a 20-year time frame instead of the outdated 100-year time frame NY had been using. It also includes impacts from the production, storage and transmission of fossil fuels.

Under these criteria, natural gas is a worse actor than oil or propane per unit of heat produced, largely because of methane leaks. On September 20th, Cornell Professor Robert Howarth submitted important testimony with quantifying data in the NYSEG/RGE rate case.

You can read the testimony, the case study and two pages of key quotes from the testimony here.

Global Climate Strike Video September 30 2019, 0 Comments

Here is a 4-minute video from the New Yorker regarding last week's Global Climate Strike. Thank you to WNY climate and labor activist Roger Cook for this tip.

Dual Fuel Units Installation Being Considered September 30 2019, 0 Comments

According to the last part of an article in Gothamist, "National Grid Battle With Cuomo Strands Thousands Without Gas," a construction manager for the Fifth Avenue Committee, an affordable housing developer, is considering installing dual fuel units that can run on oil or gas to provide heating and hot water at his senior housing project in Jamaica, Queens since National Grid will not provide a gas hookup.

The article also quoted a state senator repeating the outdated claim "natural gas is a bridge fuel."

Thanks to Politico New York Energy (2019 09 24) for alerting us to this item.