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New York City Mayor Seeks Discussions with FERC on Energy Issues

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is asking FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher to help facilitate talks between FERC staff and New York City energy personnel to address energy-related issues facing the Big Apple, including bolstering the transmission grid.

"New York is an unparalleled world financial and business center, and is uniquely dependent on electricity and the infrastructure that supports it," Bloomberg said in his March 7 letter to Kelliher that was recently posted on FERC's website [RM06-4]. "For that reason, I directed the creation of an energy policy task force for the city to assess our future energy needs, and assist in developing the means to meet them."

Bloomberg noted that one of the "critical concerns" the task force identified was that of developing transmission lines to augment in-city power generation "and other means, such as distributed resources, to meet our expected energy demand over the next five years."

The mayor noted that given the passage of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, "and the increased authority that the act vests in the Commission to assess transmission investment incentives, FERC has assumed important new responsibilities. I realize that you now have ongoing proceedings to address this issue. The regulatory or legislative responses developed out of those proceedings will undoubtedly be key elements in fostering a robust transmission grid for the future. City representatives will, at my direction, participate in those matters."

But beyond the formal process of rulemaking and public comment on specific proposals, "I believe that this issue is of sufficient concern to New York City that I have asked my energy policy staff to reach out to the appropriate parties at FERC to discuss the particular needs of the city, and to examine cooperative efforts to meet those needs in a manner that is consistent with the Commission's scope of authority," wrote Bloomberg.

The mayor therefore asked for Kelliher's assistance in facilitating discussions in Washington, DC, between FERC staff and New York City energy personnel. "The goal would be to better understand the process and objectives of increased federal involvement in this area, and to work collaboratively to promote the energy security and affordability goals that are critical to the continued growth and prosperity of New York City and the nation."

A recent report prepared by the New York Building Congress said that the city could see a power shortfall as early as 2010. The report also said that New York City needs an additional 6,000 to 7,000 MW of new power capacity and transmission/distribution infrastructure by 2025.

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