The report advocated strongly for state and local control over these renewable energy assets and a decentralized approach to electricity generation: building small-scale, distributed energy facilities and upgrading the transmission and distribution systems within each state.

This is opposed to national energy policy, which promotes the construction of a high-voltage, national transmission super highway to carry electricity generated in a handful of renewable-rich states to other regions of the country.

The argument for centralized generation is cost: It’s typically cheaper to generate electricity from renewables in regions abundant with these resources, like the windy Midwest and the sunny Southwest.

The report’s authors argued, however, that the more important measure is the ultimate retail price to the consumer:

(Click to read entire article)

A major goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is to spur activity in the renewable energy sector. However, a technical tax flaw in the legislation is preventing it from accomplishing its objective in the marketplace.

This issue is serious and must be rectified before activity in the renewable sector can increase to the level contemplated by the president. Here's the problem:

In order for a renewable energy project to be economically viable, investors must be able to take advantage of certain tax incentives, primarily depreciation and tax credits. Depending on the type of project, the present value of these tax incentives can be as high as 60 percent of the initial cost of a renewable energy project. Approximately half of that value is attributable to tax credits, and the other half is attributable to depreciation.

However, and this point is crucial, in order to benefit from these tax incentives, an investor has to have taxable income.

(Click to read entire article)

Yates County, N.Y.

Chesapeake Energy, one of the companies that is likely to seek permits for natural gas drilling in Yates County once new state regulations are in place, has launched a new web site that includes information on the hydraulic fracturing process.

The web site includes fact sheets prepared by company officials about the process itself and specifically about water use.

It also includes an animation of the "fracing" process and links to other sources of information and news.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Strict new gas-drilling regulations are still not sufficient to protect New York City's water supply from the risk of contamination, according to politicians and environmental advocates seeking a ban on drilling in the city's upstate watershed.

Drilling opponents, energy companies, gas leaseholders and others with an interest in natural gas drilling in southern New York will get to state their positions Wednesday evening in the first of four public hearings on new regulations proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The agency released the proposed regulations on Sept. 30 and set a 60-day public comment period.

The new rules were drafted as a supplement to existing state regulations on oil and gas exploration, in response to concerns about gas extraction from deep shale formations using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. In that process, millions of gallons of water combined with chemicals are injected after a well is drilled, fracturing the shale to release the gas.

(Click to read entire article)

Drilling Deep Into Controversy

For more than a year, a swelling movement of landowners, politicians, individuals and environmental organizations has been pressuring New York State to strongly regulate — or even ban — a natural gas drilling process that could wreak havoc on the environment.

Opposing them are big energy companies throwing around hundreds of millions of dollars to snap up land leases in the state so they can tap huge natural gas reserves thousands of feet underground.

At stake are freshwater sources for millions of people in Philadelphia, New York and the countryside, as well as watersheds that replenish environmental treasures from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay.

The issue has now come to a head. After the state released a much-awaited environmental impact statement, opponents blasted it as incomplete and said it was unacceptable that only 60 days were allotted for public comment.

(Click to read entire article)

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held one of only four state-wide Hearings on drilling and hydraulic fracturing at Sullivan County Community College on October 28, 2009.

The vast majority of the standing-room-only crowd was opposed to drilling in New York State.

Few or none of the opponents drew a distinction between drilling in a watershed or anywhere else.

Most or all asked for additional time so the public can read and comment knowledgeably on the DEC’s 800+ page “Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Gas and Oil Drilling in New York State.” (DSGEIS)

They asked that several more public hearings be scheduled throughout the state because some had driven three or more hours to attend last night. (Note: When I left at 11:00 PM, the meeting was still going on.)

(Click to read entire article)

Interested in a piece of the Marcellus Shale action?

A coalition of Vestal landowners has a deal for you: Roughly $46 million and 20 percent royalties for mineral rights to about 8,000 acres.

A group of about 400 property owners signed a lease that would make it attractive for energy companies to do business with them, said Marty Leab, a coalition organizer. They have commissioned Dean Lowry and Llama Horizontal Drilling to find a taker in 90 days or less.

Specifically, the lease would pay landowners a minimum of $5,750 an acre, plus 20 percent royalties, for a five-year lease of mineral rights, and a three-year extension, according to a copy of the lease obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin.

(Click to read entire article)

LOCH SHELDRAKE -- Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation's largest natural gas producers, said Wednesday that it won't drill in the New York City watershed in upstate New York because of opposition from politicians and environmental groups.

The announcement failed to fend off criticism from local officials, environmental advocates and residents who packed a theater Wednesday night for the first of four public hearings on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's new gas-drilling regulations, which critics call insufficient to protect the city's water supply.

Many of the nearly 90 people who signed up to speak called the proposed regulations too weak to prevent problems such as road damage from heavy equipment trucks and water pollution if chemicals are spilled.

Scott Rotruck, an official with Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, said it is the only leaseholder in the 1 million-acre watershed region, which includes a corner of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. It's an area of forests, lakes and streams.

(Click to read entire article)

Two energy companies were ordered to stop operations in Tioga County and Potter County, Pa., after they violated permits, state regulators said.

The Department of Environmental Protection revoked three erosion and sedimentation control general permits issued to Ultra Resources and Fortuna Energy due to technical deficiencies, according to a report from the agency.

The Ultra Resources permit was for sites in Gaines and Elk townships, Tioga County, and Pike and Abbott townships, Potter County. The Fortuna permit covered sites in Ward and Jackson townships, Tioga County.

The erosion and sedimentation control general permits are required whenever more than|5 acres of earth will be disturbed during natural gas well drilling.

The technical deficiencies in both permits included inaccurate calculations and lack of proper technical detail.

300 folks pack Sullivan fracking forum

LOCH SHELDRAKE — So what if the proposed regulations for gas drilling in the state would be among the toughest in the country.

No matter that one of the nation's largest natural gas companies, Chesapeake, just said it would not drill in one of the most contentious areas of Sullivan County, the New York City watershed; the minimal amount of land it leases there "is insignificant to us," said Chesapeake Vice President Scott Rotruck before Wednesday night's public hearing on those regulations.

Most of the speakers in the standing-room-only, mostly anti-drilling crowd of more than 300 at Sullivan County Community College said the proposed Department of Environmental Conservation rules for drilling of the Marcellus shale fall short.

The flaws — cited by some who favored drilling for its economic benefits — ranged from a lack of standards for the cumulative impact of drilling scores of wells to the amount of time allowed to review the 800-page-plus rules for an industry some say could forever change the land and life of rural Sullivan.

(Click to read entire article)

Drilling processor targets Owego site

OWEGO -- A plant to treat waste from the Marcellus Shale is on the drawing board in the Town of Owego.

Patriot Water Treatment pitched its plans to convert a former car dealership at 936 Taylor Road to a waste water treatment plant for Marcellus drillers at a planning board meeting Tuesday night. The proposal calls for installing holding and processing tanks in the existing building to treat round-the-clock shipments of drilling waste water, according to information from the planning board.

Andrew Blocksom, of Patriot, proposed the plan to desalinate brine that is a product of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus, a massive formation running under the region and throughout the Appalachian Basin. He did not return calls Wednesday.

Planning board members tabled the request for site approval, pending more information, said Debra Standinger, planning and zoning administrator for the town. According to Standinger, questions concern oversight by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the technical specifications of the tanks.

(Click to read entire article)

People in New York City want clean water to drink and access to cheap natural gas. This article highlights the tradeoff. To protect the water supply from pollution at the drill site, the energy company has been pushed not to drill in upper New York State. Given that the company believes that a huge amount of natural gas is located there, they are frustrated. Would a Torts lawyer have come up with a contract to encourage the energy company to devote careful effort to minimize the liability concerns? Is zero drilling "optimal"?

The "big issue" here is how much risk (to the water supply in this case) are we willing to take on in return for some benefits? If the water supply can really be poisoned by the energy company's pollution, then I certainly support this decision but is that true? There is really no way to craft a moderate position here?

Of course, I want my mom (in New York City) to have clean water and there are 20 million people like her in the region. But, what is the cost of banning this drilling?

Businesses and Dairy Farms in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin Counties will receive Average one-year savings of $1,200, low-cost St. Lawrence Hydropower to Provide up to $10 Million in savings

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that more than 3,500 Northern New York businesses and dairy farms will receive an approximately 9 percent discount on their electric bill for the next year. The savings will only go to St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties and will be worth an average of $1,200 for each electric customer – with some of the largest electricity users possibly saving up to $250,000 over the period.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) developed the temporary power discount program in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, and could result in up to $10 million in total savings. The Governor made the announcement at Wood Farms in Cape Vincent.

“During these difficult economic times, New York’s small businesses and our dairy farms are struggling to get by, and every little bit can help. Electric bills make up one of the largest expenses for any business, and this discount can help businesses and dairy farms in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Franklin counties make it through the next year,” said Governor Paterson. “This effort will harness one of the North Country’s greatest assets – low-cost hydropower – to provide millions of dollars in savings to North Country businesses and dairy farms, reflecting our determination to direct the benefits of the St. Lawrence-FDR project to revitalize the region’s economy.”

(Click to read entire article)

NY voters asked to consider land swap

NEW YORK STATE -- On Election Day the entire state will vote on the future of a six acre piece of land in the Adirondacks. National Grid needs to create a backup electrical supply for the tiny Village of Tupper Lake. To do so, it wants to use protected land to string a power line. That requires a constitutional amendment, which New Yorkers will be asked to approve November 3rd.

National Grid is offering 43 acres of land in exchange for the six acres it needs.

"It requires people throughout New York City, Albany, Syracuse to vote on this. We're just trying to educate the public them know that this is a thing for the economy in the Adirondacks it’s a good thing for the residents of the Adirondacks it’s a good thing for the environment," said Paul Ertelt, Adirondack Mountain Club spokesperson.

That vote will be seen on the ballot as "proposal one" across the state.

Almost 100 people came to a Tuesday night meeting on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Held in downtown Ithaca's Unitarian Church, the meeting was hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension and attempted to provide "research-based information" on the horizontal hydraulic-fracturing (or fracking) technique that may begin in the Southern Tier by next year.

Brett Chedzoy, a natural resources educator and forester for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schuyler County, called Marcellus gas drilling "perhaps the largest rural land issue that we've ever been faced with in upstate New York."

The Marcellus Shale runs under four states, from New York to West Virginia, and is "the largest natural gas formation in North America, possibly the largest in the world," Chedzoy said.

Jeffrey Jacquet works for the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell and formerly worked on gas drilling issues on behalf of a municipality in Wyoming. He went over the specifics of what happens during a gas well's development, production, and reclamation.

(Click to read entire article)

Bowing to intense public pressure, the Chesapeake Energy Corporation says it will not drill for natural gas within the upstate New York watershed, an environmentally sensitive region that supplies unfiltered water to nine million people.

The reversal seems to signal a more conciliatory tone from the gas industry, which is facing mounting opposition in New York to its drilling practices. The decision also increases the pressure on state regulators to reverse their decision to allow drilling within the watershed.

“We are not going to develop those leases, and we are not taking any more leases, and I don’t think anybody else in the industry would dare to acquire leases in the New York City watershed,” Aubrey K. McClendon, the chief executive officer at Chesapeake Energy, said in an interview on Monday in Fort Worth. “Why go through the brain damage of that, when we have so many other opportunities?”

He spoke on the eve of the first scheduled hearing on proposed state rules governing the drilling, on Wednesday in Loch Sheldrake in Sullivan County.

(Click to read entire article)

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) will hold a technical conference to explore issues associated with the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program. Issues to be discussed include benefits and costs of the program, program design and implementation, and an assessment of the potential for the development of additional renewable energy resources and associated costs.

The technical conference will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, in the 19th floor boardroom of the Commission’s Albany office at Three Empire State Plaza, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Live Internet broadcast can be viewed through NewYorkAdmin by accessing from a computer capable of using RealPlayer.

Agenda here.

Talisman Energy, the Canadian parent company of Fortuna Energy in Big Flats, plans to open an office in Pittsburgh that will focus on the company's growing Marcellus Shale drilling operations in Pennsylvania.

Fortuna spokesman Mark Scheuerman said some of the jobs at the Fortuna office will be transferred to the Pittsburgh office, which will be called Talisman USA.

But he also said the Big Flats office will remain open to handle the company's extensive land holdings in New York and monitor the gas production from its Trenton-Black River wells.

"Talisman Energy is going to establish a U.S. office in Pittsburgh and that's the extent of what's been determined," Scheuerman said Monday afternoon.

(Click to read entire article)

All through Pennsylvania's 101-day budget impasse, Gov. Rendell spoke of pain.

A recession-weary state had to tighten its belt. Revenues had to rise -- income tax, sales tax, new taxes on whole industries. "We can't get this budget resolved," Rendell said, "without everyone feeling some pain."

But when the budget was finally signed Oct. 9, one industry came away pain-free.

The natural-gas industry's leaders and lobbyists beat back Rendell's proposal to tax gas as it is pulled to the surface from the rich black-rock reservoir known as the Marcellus Shale.

So, as drilling rigs are sprouting in the state's northern tier and southwestern corner, the gas those rigs are extracting still isn't taxed. That makes Pennsylvania unique among the 15 states that produce the most natural gas.

What's more, the industry persuaded Harrisburg to lease more public land to gas drillers -- even as the state's budget for environmental protection was being sharply cut.

What happened to Rendell's gas-tax proposal?

(Click to read entire article)

Nothing says all-in like having the president, the vice president, three Cabinet secretaries, and two agency heads send the same "we care" message on the same day. It's all about achieving liftoff for the Senate energy and climate bill that's in the spotlight this week.

It may seem as if that part of President Obama's agenda, involving the controversial "cap and trade" system of curbing carbon emissions, has been nudged off to the side while he and Congress deal with everything from CEO bonuses to overhauling the health care system. The events of Tuesday are a reminder that for this administration, there's always room for one more top priority.

So, with Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry launching three straight days of hearings on their Senate counterpart to a massive bill already passed by the House, Obama is sending up his secretaries of Energy, Transportation and Interior; the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Obama himself will be in Arcadia, Fla., to celebrate the grand opening of thenation's largest solar plant and announce $3.4 billion in stimulus grants for "smart grid" projects. White House energy and climate-change adviser Carol Browner called it the nation's "largest ever" investment in modernizing and upgrading the electrical grid to make it more efficient, cheaper for consumers and better able to tap into and transport renewable energy.

(Click to read entire article)

Obama to Name 'Smart Grid' Projects

The Obama administration is expected Tuesday to name 100 utility projects that will share $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funding to speed deployment of advanced technology designed to cut energy use and make the electric-power grid more robust.

When combined with funds from utility customers, the program is expected to inject more than $8 billion into grid modernization efforts nationally, administration officials said.

"We have a very antiquated system that we need to upgrade," said Carol Browner, energy coordinator for the Obama administration.

The Department of Energy said grants of $400,000 to $200 million will lead to the installation of at least 18 million advanced digital meters, which should bring the nation's total to about 40 million, or enough to cover one-quarter to one-third of U.S. homes.

(Click to read entire article)

A public information session on Marcellus shale natural gas exploration is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian Church of Ithaca, 306 N. Aurora St.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County program will provide an overview of the relevant geology, water issues related to drilling and hydraulic fracturing and the potential economic benefits and community impacts. This program is expected to provide a foundation for a subsequent program focusing on leases and legal issues scheduled for 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday at Cornell Vet School's James Law Auditorium on Tower Road, a block from Route 366.

A research and policy brief by Cornell's Community and Rural Development Institute on "Emerging Trends in the Marcellus Shale" is at See new documents under "About Gas Drilling."

CCE maintains an online Natural Gas Leasing Resource Center with information and studies about the ramifications of drilling at

A new light on drilling

New York may become the first state in the nation to demand that in certain situations companies that drill in New York be required to report the concentrations of the chemicals they use to state regulators.

The rules would reveal information that environmental scientists say is essential to investigating water pollution from drilling.

New York's recently released review of the environmental risks of proposed natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale in the state's Southern Tier also offers the clearest picture yet of the chemicals used in the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing.

The document makes public the names of 260 chemicals, more than eight times as many as Pennsylvania state regulators have compiled. The list, the most complete released by any state or federal agency, could help answer concerns about hydraulic fracturing in Congress and in states where gas drilling has increased in recent years.

Empire plans pipeline into Corning

A company is planning to build a $43 million natural gas pipeline from just south of the Pennsylvania border up to Corning.

Empire Pipeline Inc. is currently in the early stages of the project, which would stretch approximately 16 miles from the northwest corner of Tioga County, Pa., north through Caton to the town of Corning.

The pipeline would bring gas produced from the Marcellus Shale and Trenton-Black River formations up to a compressor station on Quackenbush Hill in Corning, and would “transport abundant supplies of domestic, clean-burning natural gas to consumers in this region and beyond,” according to a release from Empire Pipeline.

From the Corning compressor station, the proposed pipeline would connect with the Millenium Pipeline, a major artery across the Southern Tier which ships gas as far away as the New York City and Boston areas.

Empire Pipeline currently has a pipeline, roughly in the shape of a “T,” that stretches from 157 miles from Buffalo to Syracuse, and 76 miles from Rochester to Corning. The proposed segment would extend the Rochester-Corning pipeline south into Pennsylvania to service new drilling areas, said Donna DeCarolis, Empire Pipeline spokeswoman.

(Click to read entire article)

They are roughnecks, and they are bringing a new dimension to the region's demographic as drilling crews migrate from places like Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana to pursue the gas-rich Marcellus Shale under the Twin Tiers.

In Athens Township, Pa., Chesapeake Energy and Nomac Drilling are planning a 180-bed gated compound to house their crews when they're not pulling 12-hours shifts, seven days a week, on derricks being erected throughout the countryside.

Many are expected to show up in Broome County next year, after New York finalizes a regulatory overhaul to accommodate the intensive type of horizontal drilling used to tap the Marcellus.

The name roughneck, which crews tend to embrace as a badge of honor, reflects the demanding and sometimes risky work that sustains them, and the cowboy mystique they bring from their hometowns in the South and West.

(Click to read entire article)

NYSEG, give us a break

NYSEG says it wants to raise our electric rates by 18.6 percent. Here’s what the state Public Service Commission ought to say in response: Fergeddaboudit! Local business owners and other residents have to ask themselves when was the last time they got an

18.6 percent raise in their salaries. With those of us in upstate New York already struggling with some of the highest electrical rates in the country, the last thing we need is another punch to our financial solar plexus.

New York State Electric & Gas Corp., a subsidiary of Energy East (itself a subsidiary of the Spanish energy giant, Iberdrola), petitioned the state Public Service Commission on Sept. 17 to raise electric rates 18.6 percent and natural gas rates 17.4 percent.

We can only hope that those ridiculous numbers constitute just an absurd attempt to obtain a single-digit increase when all is said and done.

(Click to read entire article)

Empire plans pipeline into Corning

A company is planning to build a $43 million natural gas pipeline from just south of the Pennsylvania border up to Corning.

Empire Pipeline Inc. is currently in the early stages of the project, which would stretch approximately 16 miles from the northwest corner of Tioga County, Pa., north through Caton to the town of Corning.

The pipeline would bring gas produced from the Marcellus Shale and Trenton-Black River formations up to a compressor station on Quackenbush Hill in Corning, and would “transport abundant supplies of domestic, clean-burning natural gas to consumers in this region and beyond,” according to a release from Empire Pipeline.

From the Corning compressor station, the proposed pipeline would connect with the Millenium Pipeline, a major artery across the Southern Tier which ships gas as far away as the New York City and Boston areas.

(Click to read entire article)

New York State Deputy Secretary for Energy Thomas C. Congdon likened the state's energy policy to a statement made by hockey player Wayne Gretzky.

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it's been," he recalled Gretzky saying, adding the state is trying to look to the future and grow the economy with energy efficiency programs, just like ones being developed in Chautauqua County.

Congdon spoke at the second annual Chautauqua County Energy Conference and Expo, which continues today at Chautauqua Suites.

Not only did he name the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Oxycoal Alliance's technology as "primed for growth game-changing technology" that could be exported, but County Executive Greg Edwards named some Chautauqua County energy innovators of his own including ECR International, Hopes Windows and Chautauqua Institution, all of which, he said, contributed to the green environment about which Congdon spoke. The three companies were winners of the county executive's award for Innovative Energy Initiatives.

(Click to read entire article)



• Friday, October 23, Ithaca Unitarian Church, 306 N. Aurora, 7 pm
• Tuesday, November 3, Cornell Cinema, Willard Straight Hall, 7 pm

What might we expect from unconventional drilling?
What can we do to protect our health, our environment, our way of life?

ALBANY, NY (10/23/2009)(readMedia)-- The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) previously announced it will hold a technical conference to explore issues associated with the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program. Issues to be discussed include benefits and costs of the program, program design and implementation, and an assessment of the potential for the development of additional renewable energy resources and associated costs.

The technical conference will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, in the 19th floor boardroom of the Commission's Albany office at Three Empire State Plaza, and video broadcast in the videoconference room on the 4th floor of the Commission's offices at 90 Church Street, New York City. Pursuant to procedures established by the building management, anyone planning to observe the meeting in the New York City videoconference room must notify Jan Goorsky at 212-417-2378, 48 hours in advance of the meeting, and must be prepared to show valid photo identification upon arrival at 90 Church Street.

The technical conference will commence at 10:00 a.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m. An agenda for the conference, including presenters, is below. Presentations by invitation only.

In addition to the video broadcasting of the technical conference in the Commission's New York City offices, the conference will be broadcast live on the Internet. The Internet broadcast can be viewed through NewYorkAdmin by accessing from a computer capable of using RealPlayer. RealPlayer can be downloaded from the NewYorkAdmin Web site. The Commission has no financial interest in the Web site, its management, maintenance or administration.

(Click to read entire press release)

One of the fastest growing Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) in the state, Ambit Energy announced it will launch energy service in the New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) territory in the first quarter of 2010.

"We look forward to expanding our presence in New York and are proud to say that we can now offer almost every customer in the state a lower cost option compared to the incumbent provider," said Ambit Energy CEO and co-founder Jere W. Thompson, Jr."The New York markets continue to prove themselves as very
receptive to the benefits of competition in the energy industry."

Ambit Energy will now offer its competitive rates to a market of more than 871,000 electric and 256,000 gas customers across more than 40 percent of upstate New York. To date, only about nine percent or 100,000 customers have taken advantage of the open market by switching to an alternative energy supplier.

As they have done in other New York market areas such as Con Edison and National Grid, Ambit`s independent consultants will plan to offer the benefits of Ambit Energy`s service to as many of the remaining 91 percent as possible.

"With this launch, our Independent Consultants are able to serve another huge New York market," said Ambit Energy CMO and co-founder Chris Chambless. "And with our Guaranteed Savings Plan, they are well-armed to help New York consumers in the NYSEG territory switch and save. It`s been our experience that New York consumers are extremely open to saving money."

As in other New York markets, Ambit Energy will offer a competitive monthly rate and annual savings guarantee. In addition, each customer will receive an instant savings each month up to two percent as they avoid sales tax charges on the delivery portion of their bill.

For information on Ambit Energy`s rates and services, or its upcoming service launch into the NYSEG Territory, visit or call (877) 28-AMBIT.

for Ambit Energy
Allison Lowe, 972-499-6631 or Nick LaVecchia, 214-270-1782

Many good points are made in the article describing the fourth annual “Sustainable Delaware” conference held at the University of Delaware this week, as well as honoring Professor John M. Byrne, director of the University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.

I do have a gripe with the over-use of the word “sustainable.” As an environmentalist and naturalist, “sustainable” means no net loss of environmental, or natural, elements. Every construction project extracts more than it replaces. No building today can, by itself, return more than it depletes. Period. Only through significantly improving the natural environment can we begin to come closer to a truly sustainable balance – we must first truly learn to overcome net environmental loss – with plants; yes, native P-L-A-N-T-S. So it is truly puzzling that this conference did not include presentations by Dr. Douglas Tallamy, department head of the Department of Entomology and Applied Ecology at the University.

Nor was there any mention made of the use of rooftop landscaping. And we all must accept the fact that each and every one of us is a plant parasite, and environmentally dependent with every breath we take and every vegetable and meat product we eat.

So as we go through each day using our extraneous distancing gadgets like iPhones, computers, automobiles and air conditioning/ heating, etc., please remember plants came long before us. Every plant is a miracle that eventually allowed your being, and mine.

Allan F. Ferver Jr., Earleville, Md.

What causal factors move public opinion? Are you a fundamentals guy or do you believe in path dependence models so that small shocks set off a contagion/multiplier effect as everybody is talking about the "Octomom" or the "balloon boy". In the Case of Global Warming, has Al Gore's movie worn off? Or has the recession cut too deep? Or has it been too cool outside? Today in Westwood it is 85 degrees and sunny.

While this is an interesting graph, the Pew Research people don't answer the "so what". If "belief" in global warming is down, what political economy outcome will be affected? Should Al Gore have pushed for Waxman/Markey in 2006? Should he have waited to release his Nobel Prize movie until a Democrat was President?

The question posed is a slightly strange one. I don't know what "solid evidence" is. But, I do think that the trend line is related to underlying interest in the topic.

Gas-exploration Company Faces Fine

HARRISBURG - Cabot Oil and Gas are facing fines after state environmental regulators said the gas-exploration company reported three chemical spills in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The DEP said that Cabot is being fined about $57-thousand dollars for violating state environmental laws.

Last week, the department allowed the Houston-based company to resume a drilling technique that uses liquids to fracture rock and release natural gas.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Two more Upstate utilities announced good news today. Their customers will pay less for heat this winter.

New York State Electric & Gas said a typical residential customer will pay $827 for heat this winter during the five months from November through March, a 13.8 percent decrease from last year’s bill of $959. NYSEG said a typical customer uses 724 therms of gas per winter. At that usage level, this year’s price is expected to average $1.14 per therm, compared with $1.32 last year.

Rochester Gas & Electric, a sister company of NYSEG, said a typical residential customer will pay $792 this winter, a 15.5 percent decrease from $937 last year. A typical RG&E customer uses 713 therms per winter. This year’s price is expected to average $1.11 per therm, compared with $1.31 last year.

NYSEG serves customers in Auburn and southern Cayuga County, and in pockets of Onondaga and Madison counties. RG&E has customers in northern Cayuga County.

(Click to read entire article)

New York Governor David Paterson plans to reconsider the rules that enable New York’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to a recent report in the New York Times. Power plants have long contended that the RGGI system of auctioning emission allowances puts companies who are locked into long term contracts at a serious disadvantage. Such generators, argue representative groups such as the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY), cannot recoup the extra costs associated with purchasing allowances. Similar concerns prompted Indeck Energy in January to file a lawsuit challenging New York’s authority to implement RGGI, and alleging that the regulations would essentially impose an unauthorized tax.

News of Paterson’s agreement to reexamine the rules has provoked a sharp response from environmental groups. Luis Martinez, energy attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, commented, “Reopening the rule for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to give power plant owners another bite at the apple is not only unnecessary to address their concerns, it takes us in the wrong direction. Governor Paterson should be fulfilling the needs of consumers, not making deals with industry behind closed doors.” IPPNY has disputed any suggestion that the decision to reopen the rules was the result of behind the scenes maneuvering, stating, “For several years, these concerns were communicated in IPPNY's comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation and to the press and public through multiple press releases during the RGGI rulemaking process. Both during the rulemaking process and after, IPPNY made those same concerns known to the Executive Branch in a manner that is available to every citizen and interest group in this state.”

Environmental groups have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for Governor Paterson’s schedule and records of any communications with power generator groups and are calling on his administration to release the details of any agreement with energy producers.

New York RGGI Implementing Regulations:

The New York State Public Service Commission has announced that utilities providing natural gas services in the state have adequate supplies, delivery capacity and storage inventory to meet customer demands under severe winter conditions.

In New York, there are about 3 million naturalgas heating customers. Almost half of the state’s households use natural gas for heating and residential customers constitute the majority of natural gas customers.

“The availability and price of gas supply remains a priority concern of the commission,” said Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “Despite lower gas prices, low-income families or families on a fixed-income might still find it difficult to manage due to these challenging economic times.”

As part of the readiness review, the state Dept. of Public Service provided a report to the commission regarding the arrangements utilities have made to obtain adequate gas to meet expected customer demands under severe winter weather conditions.

Financing Wind Power

According to New Energy Finance wind analyst Tyler Tringas, new build asset financing for wind projects was down 52 percent globally in the first quarter of the year. Total activity was slightly down quarter-over-quarter in the second quarter, at $11.6 billion.

“In the U.S., we expect loan activity to increase over the next 12 months,” said Tringas. “The credit crisis effectively broke down the so-called ‘tax equity’ financing structures that financed the majority of new wind projects in the past.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided a possible solution for the problem by allowing the Treasury Department to issue grants for 30 percent of the cost of new renewable energy projects. That, along with a loan guarantee program by the Department of Energy, should spur lending activity after what has been a basically frozen 2009.

“Now that the first sets of rules have been issued, the reaction has been generally positive, with several new wind financings closing just days after the announcement,” said Tringas. “Banks, which avoided new lending this year, seem generally eager to deploy new capital into the renewables sector.”

(Click to read entire article)

WASHINGTON — As the Senate eyes global warming, the nation’s energy producers are splintering into competing camps battling over policy decisions worth hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades.

Producers of natural gas are battling their erstwhile allies, the oil companies. Electrical utilities are fighting among themselves over the use of coal versus wind power or other renewable energy sources. Coal companies are battling natural gas firms over which should be used to produce electricity. And the renewable power industry is elbowing for advantage against all of them.

Some supporters of global warming legislation say the division in the once-monolithic oil-and-gas industry, as well as other splits among energy producers, could improve the prospects for the legislation.

“It’s much harder to pass clean-energy legislation when Big Oil and other energy interests are united in their opposition,” said Daniel Weiss, climate policy director at the liberal Center for American Progress. “The companies that recognize the economic benefits in the bill can help bring along their political supporters.”

(Click to read entire article)



While NY State is in fiscal crisis an slashing budgets, our enlightened legislators again propose a give away to accommodate a private utility company (special interest). Enough is enough. Vote NO on Proposal No. 1 (TOP LEFT OF BALLOT) on Nov. 3rd.


Please consider doing the same in your local paper.

(Click to read Proposal Number One)

Today, more than 100 protesters lined up today outside our studio in downtown Rochester.

It was all part of "Operation Can You Hear Us Now".

It’s a re-creation of this year's September 12th rally in Washington D.C. Two-million people participated in the D.C. rally, to protest what they say is out of control government spending, big government, and budget deficits.

Today’s group says most media outlets didn't cover the story correctly, or underestimated how many people feel this country is in trouble.

John Cocca, a protestor said, "The alternative is to do nothing and just sit there. I just think that these people, for quite a while, have wanted to say something. And I think they see where we've been...where we are...and where we're going. And if we don't change our course, we're going to head off a cliff."

Rochester is just one stop on their tour through cities across the country.

The group also protested outside the democrat and chronicle.

HARRISBURG -- One of the most active exploration companies on the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation said it is using a water-recycling system it devised.

Oil and gas company Range Resources Corp. said Monday it is reusing all the water it recovers from newly drilled wells in its core exploration area in southwestern Pennsylvania.

That adds up to millions of gallons of water being reused in Washington County.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company said the recycling is cutting drilling costs, water use and trucking traffic while eliminating the dumping of wastewater into waterways.

Solids are filtered on location from the flowback before the water is piped above ground to a central impoundment. There it is mixed with fresh water to reduce salt and reused.

New York state's environmental regulations on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale task local municipalities with important responsibilities on the front end and the back end.

Last week, it was reported that local health departments would be responsible for monitoring private wells before, during, and after gas drilling.

The overseers of wastewater treatment plants will also bear a large "responsibility and burden" if they choose to accept waste from hydraulic fracturing, according to Jimmie Joe Carl, an engineer with Penfield-based MRB Group.

Carl said his initial look at the supplemental generic environmental impact statement released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation found little clear direction from the state on how to protect publicly owned treatment plants or the public water bodies into which they discharge if a plant chooses to accept the wastewater.

(Click to read entire article)

Companies should ignore calls from "environmental extremists" and other adversaries to resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a senior official with the business association implored today.

In a letter to chamber members, the Washington, D.C.-based association's chief operating officer, David Chavern, conceded that some companies may have received e-mails, letters and other communications from third parties as the chamber lobbies Congress and the White House on climate change policy, health care, union voting rights and other contentious issues.

"Please note that these calls against the chamber are part of a broad-based, multi-source campaign against us being carried out by our normal adversaries -- trial lawyers, activist unions, environmental extremists, etc.," Chavern wrote. "It is a 'corporate campaign' in the classic sense, where groups are looking for public leverage to force us to do things against the best interests of the business community."

(Click to read entire article)

"Yes We Can!" the slogan used by then-Senator Obama during last year’s presidential campaign – is now being used by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) to launch a last ditch effort to jumpstart cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate.

Graham and Kerry’s commentary, “Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation)” published in the New York Times last weekend outlines elements of a bipartisan legislative framework on cap-and-trade.

The commentary follows the launch of "We Can Lead" -- a campaign to promote climate change legislation by a coalition of big business, environmental, labor and left-wing special interest groups.

This high-profile corporate support of Obama’s energy policy exposes a long-simmering development in public policy: the progressive takeover of the boardroom.

(Click to read entire article)

Imagine discovering that you don't own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door. Imagine having little recourse, other than accepting an unregulated industry in your backyard. Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health.

Zeroing in on Garfield County, Colorado, and the San Juan Basin, this clarion call for accountability examines the growing environmental and social costs to an area now referred to as a "National Sacrifice Zone."

This is no Love Canal or Three Mile Island. With its breathtaking panoramas, aspen-dotted meadows, and clear mountain streams, this is the Colorado of John Denver anthems -- the wide-open spaces that have long stirred our national imagination.

(Click to read entire article)

Approval of a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot would allow a land swap along State Route 56 in Colton so that the New York Power Authority and National Grid can avoid a six-mile detour through the Adirondack Park in bringing a new power line to Tupper Lake.

Adirondack Council Communications Director John F. Sheehan said the detour would be “environmentally disastrous,” as it would involve road construction through an old-growth forest, cross 95 streams and wetlands and infringe upon habitat for the endangered spruce grouse.

“It would also erect a permanent barrier to expansion of that section of the Forest Preserve,” he said.
The power line, which has already been activated, runs from the Stark Falls Reservoir to the village of Tupper Lake.

It needs an after-the-fact constitutional amendment because it traverses a section of the state Forest Preserve protected by Article 14, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution, also known as the “Forever Wild” clause. The clause forbids logging or development on the preserve.

Sheehan said the Senate and the Assembly have approved the amendment, noting that Tupper Lake has been a frequent victim of mid-winter blackouts because it only has one power source. In fact, he said, the amendment required passage by two separately elected legislatures.

(Click to read entire article)

(Click to read announcement)

What impact will Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus
Shale have on our Water, Environment and Economy?
Monday, October 19, 2009 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Free)
Brighton Town Hall Downstairs Meeting Room
2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618
Orientation to the Issues
Wes Gillingham - Program Director of Catskill Mountain Keeper
Expert Panel
Dr. Diane Hope - William A. Kern Professor in Communication
Rochester Institute of Technology
Ashur Terwilliger - President, Chemung County Farm Bureau
Dr. Ron Bishop - Lecturer in Chemistry and Biochemistry
SUNY Oneonta
Federation of Monroe County Environmentalists
League of Women Voters
Rochester Regional Group - Sierra Club
Genesee Valley Audubon Society
Genesee Valley Chapter - Adirondack Mountain Club
Center for Sustainable Living
for Pre-Forum Reference Materials
(585) 392-4918

Partners in energy efficiency

Academic-business collaborations are already producing results in New York state alone:

* Rochester Institute of Technology's partnership with Delphi Automotive of Rochester will help develop fuel-cell technology for military vehicles.

* Cornell University is partnering with Biodiesel Technologies of Saratoga Springs to develop continuous-flow biodiesel production technology.

* Another Cornell partner, Primet Precision Materials of Ithaca, is utilizing nanoscale materials technology to accelerate the pace of fuel-cell research.

(Click to read entire article)

Understanding carbon markets and footprints is now more important for US companies to learn. Our introductory seminar on carbon trading and finance has been given to over 900 people incuding many Fortune 1000. Our next seminar is on the afternoon of October 28th in New York."With the Senate debating climate change legislation, the time is more opportune to get up on the learning curve on carbon trading and finance," said Peter Fusaro, Chairman of Global Change Associates and carbon expert.

The U.S. is about to enter the carbon constrained world. Today, we are facing federal carbon cap and trade legislation debated in the Congress in 2009. Already states on both coasts and the Midwest are already implementing carbon regulation. However, there is much confusion on how these markets develop. Peter Fusaro has been actively engaged on energy and environmental issues for over 34 years from both public policy and capital markets, and has been involved in climate change initiatives since 1990. This market is very complex and can be hard for the layman to understand. Peter’s insights into carbon market developments are now sought by industry professionals, financial institutions, technology companies and policy makers in order to simplify market design as well as identify investment opportunities. Recognizing the need for his unique expertise, Peter is offering a continuously revised four hour course on carbon market developments in the U.S. and Europe from 2008 due to the dynamism of the market and policy developments.

Since December 2006, more than 900 professionals have taken Peter Fusaro’s webinars, classroom seminars, and in-house trainings on green trading, cleantech & emissions trading, renewable energy trading and carbon market developments. Law firms, trade associations and leading universities throughout the US and Europe have invited Peter to present his “Introduction to Carbon Markets and Finance’ seminar.

ALBANY — How can the state use just one well to set regulations for the impact of gas drilling on water, roads and air when dozens, even hundreds, may be built in places such as Sullivan County? Shouldn't the gas companies address the cumulative impacts of all those wells?

That's just one issue that environmental groups plan to raise Thursday at the state Assembly hearing on the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed regulations for gas drilling of the Marcellus shale, which sits beneath Sullivan and other counties.

The hearing, held by the Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee, should provide a preview of issues that will be raised at other hearings in coming months before the state finalizes those rules.

Aileen Gunther, D-C-Forestburgh, and Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake, are on the committee.

"The whole cumulative impact is a glaring problem," says Wes Gillingham, program director of Sullivan County's Catskill Mountainkeeper. "Each company knows how much land they've leased. One well leads to another and another. And how will the state control the impact of all that waste?"

(Click to read entire article)

ALBANY -- Gov. David Paterson announced Monday the formation of a pair of groups aimed at improving the state's energy efficiency.

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, or NY-BEST, will distribute $25 million to researchers specializing in the development of batteries and energy storage devices.

The state also is using $600,000 over three years to establish the New York Energy Policy Institute and fund energy-efficiency research.

The state Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) funded a study that identified 18 academic-based research centers as potential candidates to house and oversee the institute.

(Click to read entire article)

Goldman Sachs marketed $12 million worth of carbon offsets to CE2 Carbon Capital in what Goldman Sachs is calling the largest publicly announced U.S. offset deal so far, reports Reuters.

CE2 Carbon Capital is a U.S. investor and owner of carbon-based assets and commodities.

Goldman Sachs sold the offsets on behalf of Blue Source, a company that generated the offsets from projects aimed at preventing forests from being cut down, as well as carbon capture projects at landfills and coal mines. Goldman Sachs is a minority partner in Blue Source.

The forestry offsets came from tree stands that were protected by convincing farmers in North Carolina not to cut down the trees.

(Click to read entire article)

An agreement is imminent between four St. Lawrence River towns and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency to mete out $16 million and 20 megawatts of low-cost power from the New York Power Authority to spur economic development.

"It's been a long process, and it looks like the end is near," said Larry R. Legault, Louisville supervisor. "We want to move forward with this."

The St. Lawrence Local Government Task Force, representing the towns of Lisbon, Waddington, Louisville and Massena, could approve an agreement with the IDA at a meeting Thursday in Louisville, said task force Chairman Robert O. McNeil.

The task force last year proposed creating the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to decide how the money and power should be used. The agency will be governed by a five-member board representing the towns and county, and Massena Electric Department will manage the agency's daily operations.

(Click to read entire article)

The state is asking local government agencies to regulate key aspects of the natural gas industry, raising yet more questions about who will pay for manpower to oversee multinational energy companies setting up shop in Southern Tier's backyards.

The industry's effect on water resources and roads are included in a report released Sept. 30 by the Department of Environmental Conservation outlining environmental concerns from full-scale Marcellus Shale development.

Risks to water, the report says, include turbidity, methane contamination and, to a lesser degree, potential for hazardous chemicals to breach well-bore casings or spill while being handled or disposed of on the surface.

To deal with those threats, the state is calling on local health departments to oversee a testing program of private wells in drilling zones. Testing would begin before drilling starts, and continue for a year after it ends.

(Click to read entire article)

What Could Go Wrong With Shale Plays

The industry and investment community is all worked up over the various oil and natural gas shale plays in North America, but little attention is given to what could go wrong with these plays.

IN PICTURES: 7 Forehead-Slapping Stock Blunders

The first issue is that not very much drilling has been done in some of the most promising shale plays. Since there is very little development and production history, it is difficult to determine the average estimated ultimate recovery (EUR), initial production (IP) rates and decline curves of wells here. Thus any estimates of the total resource potential are unreliable.

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), which has 510,000 acres in the Haynesville Shale, uses an average EUR of 6.50 Bcfe, an IP rate of 14.1 million cubic feet equivalent per day, and a first year decline of 85%. However, the oldest Chesapeake Energy well in the Haynesville Shale is only nine months old, and it is difficult to attribute this data to the entire play.

(Click to read entire article)

New York and 17 other states have moved to intervene in a lawsuit over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow California to set its own standards for greenhouse-gas emissions by automobiles.

In a statement Friday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the states are seeking to intervene in an action brought in September by the National Automobile Dealers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

"Our opposition to this lawsuit is based on states' rights - the right of New York and other states to take common-sense steps to protect their environment, public health and economy from being devastated by continued, unchecked global warming," Cuomo said.

The states are: New York, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

(Click to read entire article)

Mixed reviews for DEC regs

Drilling proponents are pleased, critics are not

NEW YORK STATE — Environmentalists and the drilling industry alike agree that the new regulations proposed for the industry will add safeguards for the environment, but for critics the question remains: do the safeguards go far enough and are there sufficient resources available to enforce them.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a massive 810-page document on September 30 that lays out the proposed regulations in what is called the draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement (SGEIS).

Among the new safeguards when the new rules take effect is that drillers will be required to reveal all of the chemicals used in fracking fluids. They will not be able to store flow-back water, also called produced water, in plastic-lined pits; instead, they will be required to use steel tanks. Also, the drillers will be obliged to test water from any private water wells within 1,000 feet of a gas well, and if there are no private wells that close, the distance expands to 2,000 feet.

People who would like to see gas drilling proceed were generally pleased.

(Click to read entire article)

Officials in five European countries say they are investigating an international carbon credit scam considered to be worth more than $1.5 billion. According to a recent report for the Guardian, the scam was started by gangs in Britain and Spain who bought and sold emissions allowances across borders in order to avoid paying Value Added Tax (VAT).

Scotland Yard detectives, Revenue and Customs officers and Europol—the European law enforcement agency—are all involved in the investigation. The scam is said to involve several countries, including Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. According to the report, a source close to the investigation said the “inquiry has escalated.”

“This is a Europe-wide operation and we are finding it difficult to keep up," the source was quoted saying.

Fraud cases in the carbon credit market are not new. Over the summer, detectives in the UK began an investigation into an alleged $50-million carbon credit scam that involved VAT fraud. A total of nine people have been arrested and 27 properties searched as a result of the investigation.

And more recently, the United Nations was forced to suspend the British-based auditor of tradable carbon credits, SGS United Kingdom Ltd. The company was accused of irregularities in its review of projects that qualified for the carbon credits. The suspension of SGS came less than a year after the UN suspended the Norwegian certification company, DNV, for similar violations.

(Click to read entire article)

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - The long-awaited "smart grid" for U.S. power could play a major role in rolling out renewable energy like wind and solar, the top U.S. power regulator said on Wednesday.

Demand response, the heart of the "smart grid" concept of a power system that can respond immediately to changes in supply and electricity prices, could account for a fifth of U.S. electricity, Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in an interview.

The market treats contracts to cut demand as a power source, jocularly called a 'negawatt'.

(Click to read entire item)

Gov. David A. Paterson, D-N.Y., has announced the creation of the New York Energy Policy Institute (NYEPI). The group will coordinate the work of New York's leading energy research centers, using established expertise in the field to provide a resource for the state's energy policy-makers. To facilitate this coordination, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has released a request for proposals to establish the policy institute.

"New York already has some of the brightest minds in the world and extensive academic expertise in the clean energy economy," says Paterson. "For the first time, they will work together to provide analysis and strategies to inform state policy-makers, and the beneficiaries will be the everyday New Yorkers who will get cheaper and cleaner energy."

Funding of up to $36,200,000 per year for up to three years has been allocated to this effort. Initially, NYEPI will concentrate on strategies that will introduce more energy efficiency and further reduce energy-derived pollution, while also providing for economic development and increased employment.

Electric power generation, transmission and heating fuel-use are expected to be core issues, and then, further efforts will work toward new and efficient transportation use within the state.

(Click to read entire item)

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