Looks Like WNY Coal-Fired Plant Will Never Convert to Gas/Reopen

In 2013, a coal-fired electric generating plant near Buffalo, NY (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. 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 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 that single plant! New York State “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 then the competitor who had objected to converting the old coal plant to natgas (with ratepayer assistance) dropped their objection, and NRG restarted the project in December 2016 (see Coal-to-Gas Plant Conversion in Western NY Back from the Dead). Once again, environmental lunatics would rather bankrupt Dunkirk than let the plant restart as a gas-fired plant. They lobbied the state Public Service Commission to block the deal. That didn’t happen, but what has happened is that because of the delays caused by NY and NRG’s competitor, NRG has to “restart” the project and along with that comes connection costs–the cost to reconnect the plant to the electricity grid. Estimated reconnect costs go as high as $115 million! The cost of “transmission upgrades” according to the NY grid operator. The cost to reconnect would be almost as much as the project cost itself, meaning there’s no way in Hades NRG will build it. So although antis couldn’t get NY to regulate the project out of existence, electric grid bureaucratic claptrap will keep it out of existence. Same result…

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