There was this one this morning.
Now here's another:
ALBANY — The company that proposed a power plant now at the center of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe of the Cuomo administration has received a series of beneficial state approvals in recent years and was a generous donor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Competitive Power Ventures is now at work on a proposed $1 billion natural gas-fired power plant in Wawayanda, Orange County.
As a result of Bharara’s probe, the administration has cut off contact with CPV, the Daily News has reported. Bharara is examining whether top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco received tens of thousands of dollars from CPV, the Wall Street Journal reported. Todd Howe, a lobbyist close to Cuomo who is also at the center of the investigation, has done work for CPV.
The CPV Energy Center plant has received a series of approvals from the Cuomo administration over the years. The 650-megawatt plant in Orange County is viewed by the Cuomo administration as a key part of its plan to find replacement power for the Indian Point nuclear center, should Gov. Andrew Cuomo succeed in his effort to get it shut down.
The state’s action on CPV includes multiple levels of approvals for plant, as well as an approval for upgrades to the Marcy transmission line, which will connect it to the energy grid. The plant will also connect to the Millennium pipeline, which the company has applied for that through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The approval of the natural gas-fired plant came at a time when the administration was generally attempting to move away from fossil fuel generation and toward renewable energy generation, per its Reforming Energy Vision, which seeks to make the energy grid more reliant on renewable sources and more efficient.
CPV has spent more than $140,000 lobbying the Cuomo administration and lawmakers in recent years, state lobbying disclosures show. CPV, and a host of connected LLCs, also donated at least $80,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Much of that came just before Cuomo took office, and the company was preparing to seek state approvals for its Hudson Valley power plant.
Maybe it's all good, maybe nothing funky went on here.
But the appearances are that CPV got approval for a natural gas-fired plant even though the administration was trying to move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy perhaps because they were sending money to Cuomo (via donations) and to former Cuomo's aides, Joe Percoco and Todd Howe (via consulting fees.)
No smoking gun but plenty of questions that need to be answered, that's for sure.