Coal-to-Gas Plant Conversion in Western NY Back from the Dead

NRG Dunkirk Coal Plant

A coal-fired electric generating plant near Buffalo (in Dunkirk) was slated to be converted to burn natural gas–a win/win for everyone (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). Radical environmentalists like the Sierra Club opposed it, but that’s to be expected. Crazy people do crazy things. Everything seemed to be fine until a competitor hauled NRG, the plant’s owner, into court to dispute the change from coal to natgas. They objected to the ratepayers kicking in $150 million for the project. NRG said fighting the case in court will take years, so they just closed down the plant instead (see Dunkirk, NY Coal-Fired Electric Plant Closing in January 2016). It was an economic nuclear bomb for that community. The Town of Dunkirk gets 40% of its tax revenue from the plant. NY “generously” shucked out $5.5 million so Dunkirk wouldn’t collapse economically. But doing that year after year will get old quick. Other communities can rightly demand state help too. But what’s this? The competitor who objected to converting the old coal plant to natgas (with ratepayer assistance) has dropped their objection, and NRG says the project is back on. Great news! It’s great for the people of western NY, great for Dunkirk’s taxpayers, and great for the Marcellus/Utica industry that will provide the gas…

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