Albany, N.Y. — More than 120 people attended the Independent Power Producers of New York’s annual spring conference at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center. Here are some highlights.
John Reese, IPPNY chairman and senior vice president at Eastern Generation, mused about the conference’s theme, “Bolstering New York’s Energy Markets in a Changing Landscape.”
“The New York landscape changes so often it should be made of Play-Doh,” he said, noting that both the former state Senate majority leader and the former Assembly speaker were sentenced to prison this month on corruption charges.
In addition, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the subjects of a wide-ranging federal influence peddling probe that has ensnared both SolarCity and Competitive Power Ventures. “We have every major energy agency in the state under subpoena by the U.S. attorney: the New York Power Authority, NYSERDA [New York State Energy Research and Development Authority] and the Public Service Commission,” Reese said.
Sen. Joseph Griffo, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, said the Senate will be considering “reset legislation” for the state’s energy service companies while monitoring PSC proceedings on the issue. (See Retailers Ask for Rehearing of NY Guaranteed Savings Order.)
“We’re looking at things designed to protect customers, to weed out some of the bad actors, establish a more robust, legitimate ESCO market,” Griffo said.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy, said she is backing legislation that would give electric vehicle owners discounted rates for charging their cars during off-peak times. She said she also supports a tax credit for farmers leasing land to solar developers and noted that a fuel cell sales tax exemption was included in the state budget.
Scott Weiner, deputy for markets and innovation at the New York Department of Public Service, said he initially thought the Supreme Court’s ruling last month rejecting Maryland regulators’ attempt to subsidize a combined cycle plant through a contract-for-differences was “very narrow.” (See Supreme Court Rejects MD Subsidy for CPV Plant.)
“Nothing in this opinion should be read to foreclose Maryland and other states from encouraging production of new or clean generation through measures ‘untethered to a generator’s wholesale market participation,’” the court said.
But after rereading the order, Weiner said, he changed his mind.
“There will be a lot of lawyers spending a lot of time defining ‘tethering,’” he said. “There’s a lot that the order didn’t say. That leaves white space for all of us to work our way through.”
FERC Chairman Norman Bay gave his thoughts on continuing state-federal jurisdictional battles over the electric industry and calls for reregulation in states with retail choice.
“At FERC we clearly don’t have the authority to tell a state that it can’t be vertically integrated. We don’t have the authority to tell a state that, if it chooses to do so, that it can’t reregulate,” he said. “The case to be made for a market-based approach to further important public policies has to be made. And I think that case is being made in RTOs and ISOs across the country.”