End of Ethanol Ban May Bring More Smog to New York Summers

President Trump is expected to end certain restrictions on selling gasoline containing a higher percentage of ethanol. Photo by United Soybean Board/Creative Commons.

The Trump administration has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end its ban on the summertime sale of E15, a blend of gasoline and corn ethanol.

Up to now, such sales have been barred because E15, which is 15 percent ethanol, contributes to more smog during hotter summer months.

The change is opposed by an unusual political alliance of environmentalists, who oppose the environmental damage, and the fossil fuel industry, which does not want to see more gasoline displaced with corn ethanol.

Ethanol combustion releases elevated levels of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, both of which form smog in the air when exposed to sunlight and high temperatures.

Source: Times Union

Danish Wind Company Buys Leading U.S. Offshore Wind Developer

Deepwater Wind is developing projects in Connecticut, Maryland and New York and is still planning to construct a second wind farm off of Rhode Island big enough to supply up to 25 percent of the state’s energy needs. Photo by Ionna22/Creative Commons

Danish renewable energy company Ørsted has announced a $510 million deal to buy Deepwater Wind, which built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is also developing New York’s first offshore wind project for the Long Island Power Authority and built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island.

If approved by regulators, the deal will create a U.S. subsidiary called Ørsted North America that has a combined 8.8 gigawatts of projects in development up and down the East Coast.

By paying more than $500 million for a relatively small company with just one wind farm, Ørsted appears to be confirming that the United States is considered the next big source of growth for this industry.

Source: The New York Times


Want to Buy a New, Energy-Efficient Car? Your Utility Company Can Help With That.

Con Ed and National Grid have launched comparison tools to assist customers in purchasing electric vehicles. Photo by Noya Fields/Creative Commons

Looking to buy a new car? Curious about how an electric vehicle stacks up to its gasoline-guzzling forebearer, especially over the course of a lifetime?

Consolidated Edison and National Grid are here to help. The New York utility companies have both recently unveiled online marketplaces that help consumers compare and purchase electric vehicles.

The sites allows shoppers to make side-by-side comparisons of cars in a way that shows costs over the course of a lifecycle. The marketplaces provide the manufacturer’s suggested price, the value of rebates and tax breaks for electric vehicles, and estimated fuel costs.

The results can be surprising! As Greentech Media showed, in a comparison of a Lincoln Navigator and a Tesla Model X, the Tesla ends up being cheaper to own after factoring fuel costs, rebates and federal tax credits.

Intrigued? Do your own research with Con Ed or National Grid.

Source: Greentech Media

Denied: DEC Rejects Permit for Seneca Lake Gas Storage

Opponents of a proposal to store 88.2 million gallons of liquid propane in caverns on Seneca Lake, celebrated a major victory last week. Photo by stayadventurous.com

After a nearly-10-year battle by environmentalists, business owners, and community groups, the DEC has rejected a proposal to store propane in old salt caverns near Seneca Lake.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos denied the permit on the grounds the facility would have a significant adverse impact on community character in that Finger Lakes region. Seggos also reviewed resolutions adopted by local municipalities opposed to the project, and the area’s development of tourism, the wine industry and agriculture as economic drivers. There were also concerns about the integrity of caverns at the site.

Source: Innovation Trail

Two Pieces of Good News for the Climate

Photo via New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Facebook page.

With two separate blows, New York State has moved to block energy derived from burning fossil fuels.

After a 5-year battle fought by local environmental groups and eventually the State, plans have fallen through to upgrade a facility at the Port of Albany so it could process heavy crude oil from the Canadian tar sands. Massachusetts-based Global Companies has finally walked away from its legal fight to install boilers at the port, which would have been necessary to prepare the crude for rail transport.

Opponents of the upgrade maintained that the facility would threaten the Hudson River, and contribute to global climate change. Continue reading “Two Pieces of Good News for the Climate”

Proposed Gas Storage in Seneca Lake Faces Additional Setback

An aerial view of the Inergy – now Crestwood – salt facility located on Seneca Lake’s west shore, just north of Watkins Glen. Photo via dcbureau.org

An attempt to store liquefied propane gas in Seneca County salt mines has encountered further setbacks as the sponsors acknowledged the cavern may have leaks. An attorney for the company involved asked the DEC to delay a final decision on the storage unit application until well pressure tests determine its suitability as a gas storage unit. Continue reading “Proposed Gas Storage in Seneca Lake Faces Additional Setback”

Cuomo, Environmentalists Oppose Waste-to-Energy Incinerator in Finger Lakes

Three Seneca White Deer roam the grounds at the Seneca Army Depot, where a 48-acre waste incinerator is planned. Photo by BrianAdler/Creative Commons

Governor Cuomo announced Tuesday his opposition to a proposed 48-acre trash incinerator in the Finger Lakes region. The facility would burn 2,600 tons of solid municipal waste brought in by truck and or rail each day, and produce what proponents call “clean electricity.” Continue reading “Cuomo, Environmentalists Oppose Waste-to-Energy Incinerator in Finger Lakes”

New York Wind Farm Faces Delay Due to NJ Request

New Jersey claims its stakeholders have not yet been meaningfully involved in the wind development process. Photo by Ionna22/Creative Commons

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is asking the federal government to extend the public comment period on proposed new lease sales for offshore wind in the New York Bight, a step that could delay the process for up to six months.

Murphy requested more time because the areas under consideration for wind-energy development include New Jersey’s main fishing grounds.

Source: New Jersey Spotlight

New York Considering Carbon Pricing Proposal to Cut Emissions

New York is targeting an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and has been considering placing a price on the emissions associated with electricity generation. Photo via Creative Commons.

Could a carbon tax be the most effective way to reduce New York State’s greenhouse gas emissions? There seems to be growing consensus that placing a price on emissions associated with electricity generation could both cut pollution and incentivize the development of renewable energy.  Continue reading “New York Considering Carbon Pricing Proposal to Cut Emissions”