Geo Blogs

NYS: $1.6 Billion in Subsidies to Fossil Fuels March 16 2020, 0 Comments

POLITICO New York Energy (2020 03 09) reports reports "Sen. Liz Kreuger [sic] and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill want to eliminate tax subsidies for the purchase of fossil fuels in New York, as well as other exemptions."

Rick Karlin, writes in his article "Lawmakers want to reassess fossil fuel breaks" in the Albany Times Union (March 6, 2020):

New York is poised to spend lots of money in the years ahead to fuel the pursuit of a carbon-free economy, which is envisioned in the new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed last summer.

…At the same time, New York’s tax code also includes an estimated $1.6 billion in subsidies for the use of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. Now, a pair of lawmakers want to shine a light on those subsidies eventually phase many of them out.

Nat Grid Gas Shortage Questioned March 16 2020, 0 Comments

City Limits reports:

A report released Monday [3/9/2020] by climate activists raises questions about the rationale for building new natural gas infrastructure in New York, a state that has mandated a dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use over the next three decades.

…The report...was prepared by the consultancy Energy Futures Group for the climate-change advocacy organization and 350Brooklyn. It questions the premise from which National Grid starts: that there is or is likely to be a shortage of natural gas in the New York City region.
Thanks to City and State First Read (2020 03 09) for alerting us to this item.

RMI on National Grid's Analysis of Options March 09 2020, 0 Comments

POLITICO New York Energy (2020 03 03) reported the "Rocky Mountain Institute has some thoughts on National Grid's 118 page analysis of options for its natural gas shortage downstate."

The February 28th RMI "New York Can Meet Its Energy Needs without a New Pipeline" report says:

A prolonged battle over a natural gas pipeline in New York is presenting state officials with a critical decision point and an opportunity to establish themselves as national leaders in climate action. In contrast to utility National Grid’s proposal to build a $1 billion gas pipeline to serve customers in New York City and Long Island, there is another path to meet those energy needs, utilizing customer-focused solutions like energy efficiency, electrification, and demand response.

Resisting the call for new gas infrastructure and charting a different course requires bold, unprecedented steps, but such ambitious action is better for residents' health and critical to meeting the state's ambitious climate goals, and can also be cost-effective.
You can read National Grid's "Natural Gas Long-Term Capacity Report" here.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons and Green Energy Times (2020 03 06) for this tip.

NYC: End Fossil Fuel Burning in Buildings by 2040 March 09 2020, 0 Comments

S&P Global Market Intelligence reports:

New York City's path to limiting natural gas in buildings could look very different than the course that California towns and cities have charted — and, as a result, could go farther than other measures already in the works.

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced his administration will aim to end the use of natural gas and fuel oil in buildings by 2040, following a wave of gas bans and building electrification codes in California, the Boston area and Seattle. The announcement on Feb. 6 signaled that the nation's most populous city could soon set about electrifying a portion of its more than 1 million buildings.
See State of the City 2020 End the Use of Fossil Fuels, including Natural Gas, in Buildings for details.

Thanks to Jonathan Tham of PSEG-Li for this tip.


Climate Action Council Meets March 09 2020, 0 Comments

Politico New York Energy's Marie J. French (2020 03 04) reported:

[On March 3rd,] In a low-key first meeting in a DEC building in Albany, the council tasked with developing a detailed plan of achieving the state's lofty climate goals approved its bylaws, heard an alarming-but-hopeful presentation from a climate scientist and shared some priorities for the work ahead. Co-chairs Alicia Barton, the chief executive officer of NYSERDA, and Basil Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, both emphasized the challenges and opportunities presented by the state's new law. The next meeting is expected April 2 in the New York City area. Seggos indicated he wants to stack meetings earlier in the year until the advisory panels are up and running. While the council meetings will be subject to open meetings requirements, advisory panels the council is tasked with forming will not be. Some members of the council want to see speedier progress on making recommendations than the two-year timeframe for a draft scoping plan. Peter Iwanowicz, who is the head of Environmental Advocates of New York but said he was participating as an individual, urged more public engagement with meetings held throughout the state even before a plan is developed. He also pushed for a 10-day notice of meetings when feasible.

Seggos said there's an anticipation that the council's important work will require dedicated staffing, which the bylaws allow for. "We envision...we're going to need more firepower," he said. …Barton said many recommendations had been received on membership for advisory panels, which have not yet been convened by the council, and said robust stakeholder engagement is expected. The bylaws urge the panels to reach consensus but they can make recommendations with minority opinions included.

The Times Union reports: Quantifying current air emissions is inexact now, let alone 30 years ago, noted Paul Shepson, dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the State University at Stony Brook. That speaks to the challenges in establishing baselines from which to work.

NYPIRG wants the council to create a metrics scorecard to track the state's progress on its climate and renewable goals. NY Renews also distributed an open letter to the council urging an even faster timeline for action and the importance of prioritizing environmental justice communities.

On March 4th, Climate Action Council co-chairs, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton, went on WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom with Dave Lombardo.

Other resources: Sign up for emails from the Climate Action Council and view the video of the inaugural meeting.

Also, thank you to NY-GEO member Joanne Coons, who was at the meeting and took some good notes and the photo below.

Nat Grid's Gas Options March 02 2020, 0 Comments

POLITICO New York Energy's (2020 02 25) Marie J. French reports:

A gap between available natural gas and demand in the coming decade could be closed with new infrastructure, such as a pipeline or new liquefied natural gas facilities, or a portfolio exclusively focused on reducing gas usage, according to a new report by National Grid [] released on Monday. The report, required under Grid's agreement with the state to lift its moratorium on new hookups in downstate New York, outlines various options for closing a long-term supply gap with cost estimates, timelines, permitting requirements and potential risks. The utility is required to present these options at public meetings in New York City and on Long Island — six meetings are scheduled in March. While National Grid had previously argued that the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline was the best long-term solution to meet gas demand, and urged customers impacted by the moratorium to lobby in support of that project, the report avoids making any final judgment. It does say that without a long-term infrastructure solution such as the pipeline, there is a risk of moratoriums on new service if electrification or efficiency programs miss targets.

—Food and Water Action's Laura Shindell: "National Grid is peddling the same old dirty energy solutions — more fracked gas delivered by dangerous means, whether it's pipelines, barges, or trucks." Shindell also raised concerns about Grid limiting public testimony at the information sessions. Utility spokeswoman Karen Young said attendees would have the option of submitting online or written comments or "reading a feedback statement into the record." Both Grid and the Public Service Commission will review the comments. Grid plans to issue an interim report summarizing them to assist with selecting an option in June 2020.
You can read the NPR report on National Grid's report here.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Zach Fink, of ZBF Geothermal, for this tip.

Con Ed to Study Asset Depreciation March 02 2020, 0 Comments

In a groundbreaking element of the recently settled Con Edison rate case, the company agreed to perform a study on the impact that addressing climate change may have on the depreciation of its assets. There is a growing awareness that fossil fuel assets, such as gas pipelines, may become “stranded assets” before the end of their currently projected useful life. This is due to the phasing out of burning of fossil fuels in order to cut carbon emissions.

The company issued a scoping document on February 27th that will be considered in a scoping meeting on March 12 from 10 am – 1 pm in the PSC Board Room at 90 Church St. in NYC.

Write to Associate Counsel Grace Su at if you plan to participate in the scoping meeting, either in-person or by teleconference. (This is not a webinar, so there is no video, but listening and possibly commenting over the phone is possible.)

How to Move Away from Fossil Fuels March 02 2020, 0 Comments

The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) released a 36-page booklet titled Heat Pumps in Renovation Vol. 1 The most flexible technology when renovating any kind of building on February 28, 2020.

It says in part:
Efficient deployment of heat pumps in multifamily buildings is possible.

How to move fossil fuels out of the built environment was a main topic of the #DecarbCities conference that took place yesterday in Vienna.

Representatives from different cities acknowledged that options are limited and include (renewables and waste based) district heating, central and decentral heat pumps and green gas.

At the same time, technology development on heat pump solutions has advanced to a dimension that allows the efficient deployment of heat pumps also in multifamily buildings as a number of the presenters illustrated convincingly…

"It is important to demystify the use of heat pump technology in buildings. A family of solutions exists that all builds on the refrigerant cycle providing heating, cooling and hot water both in central (district heating, office buildings) and decentral solutions. In addition, heat pump systems provide flexibility to the grid and help maximize the self-consumption of locally produced electricity from photovoltaics and similar sources," says Thomas Nowak, Secretary General of the EHPA.
Thanks to Dave Hatherton of the Ontario Geothermal Association for this tip.

California: Electrification to Cut Energy Costs February 24 2020, 0 Comments

Greentech Media's Justin Gerdes reported February 20, 2020 on Southern California Edison's Vision for How the State Achieves Carbon Neutrality:

Spoiler: There's no happy ending for natural gas.

Natural-gas consumption is set for a sharp drop in California as the state pushes to achieve carbon neutrality by midcentury, according to utility Southern California Edison.

…Gas and other fossil fuels will continue to play a role, albeit one that is rapidly diminishing. The state's growing share of carbon-free electricity will increasingly displace fossil fuels in buildings and vehicles.

…The larger vision…is detailed in SoCal Edison's recently published analysis, "Pathway 2045," a roadmap for how California can meet the ambitious clean energy and climate goals set by the legislature and former Governor Jerry Brown.

…Unlike California's other major investor-owned utilities San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison is an electricity-only utility and has been especially bullish in supporting widespread electrification of buildings and vehicles. SCE's service territory overlaps that of the single-fuel Southern California Gas Company, a thorny challenge state policymakers must manage as California works to hit its 2045 targets. [This situation parallels National Grid vs. National Fuel Gas in Western NY and National Grid’s gas divisions vs. Con Edison and PSEG-LI downstate.]

…SoCal Edison believes customers will come out ahead in a decarbonized, electrified California.

…Electricity bills would go up as buildings and vehicles transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity, the utility estimates, but overall annual energy spend for the average residential customer would fall by one-third, decreasing to $3,130 in 2045.
Thanks to NY-GEO member Ron Kamen for this tip.


Dandelion Energy Ramps Up Home Geothermal Installations February 24 2020, 0 Comments

Greentech Media's Julian Spector reported February 17, 2020 on "Google Spinout Dandelion Energy Ramps Up Home Geothermal Installations":

With fresh investment, a new CEO and a supportive state policy environment, Dandelion is ready to expand in New York.

The company, which emerged from the X "Moonshot Factory" in 2017, has grown to around 100 employees and installed hundreds of sites in New York state. It continues to refine its drilling technology to make residential drilling and heat pump installation easier and more competitive with incumbent fossil fuels. Last month, it pulled in another $12 million, bringing total investment to $35 million, and hired a new CEO to handle the growth stage while co-founder Kathy Hannun takes the president role to focus on technology development.

Installations grew nearly fivefold year-over-year in 2019, Hannun said in a recent interview, as the company dialed in on its core markets of Albany, the Hudson Valley and Westchester. Previous investors Comcast Ventures, GV, NEA and Lennar saw that progress and wanted to expand on last year's Series A.

Dandelion is seizing on statewide trends as well. It partnered with utility Con Edison to install geothermal heat pumps in Westchester, where demand for natural gas has outstripped supply, leading to a moratorium on new hookups.
Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons for this tip.