Dunkirk, NY Desperate to Restart Shuttered Electric Plant

This is a truly sad story. Because of delays from lawsuits and regulators, power generator NRG said last week it has officially given up on restarting a shuttered coal-fired electric plant near Buffalo, in the Town of Dunkirk. There had been plans to convert the plant to burn natural gas, but due to delays, it didn’t happen. NRG closed the coal-fired plant in 2016, which was an economic nuclear bomb for Dunkirk–they get 40% of their tax revenue from that one 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. Dunkirk needs that plant. Because of delays due to a lawsuit by a competitor (now dropped), NRG needs to restart the project from scratch, which means reconnecting 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 (see Looks Like WNY Coal-Fired Plant Will Never Convert to Gas/Reopen). As we predicted last month, NRG is walking away from the project. They said so, officially, last week. And that has Dunkirk leaders and residents in a panic, desperate to find someone else to take over the project and get it going. Don’t hold your breath. If NRG can’t make the numbers work, what makes Dunkirk think another company can?…
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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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Antis Try to Stop Buffalo-Area Coal Plant Conversion to NatGas

NRG Dunkirk coal plant

In 2013, 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 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. 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 (see Coal-to-Gas Plant Conversion in Western NY Back from the Dead). But once again, the environmental lunatics who would rather bankrupt Dunkirk than let the plant restart as a gas-fired plant, are lobbying the state Public Service Commission to block the deal…
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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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Dunkirk, NY Coal-Fired Electric Plant Closing in January 2016

As MDN previously reported, 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). Oh sure, 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. Sounds equally crazy that a competitor can stop the change, but NRG says fighting the case will take years, so they’re just going to close the plant down (see Lawsuit Prevents NY Power Plant from Converting to NatGas, Closing). Sadly, last week the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) gave its blessing to NRG to close down the Dunkirk plant. This is an economic nuclear bomb for that community. The Town of Dunkirk gets 40% of its tax revenue from the plant. What will they do now?…
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Lawsuit Prevents NY Power Plant from Converting to NatGas, Closing

closedAlthough anti-fossil fuel nutters in New York State have worked to oppose converting electric generating plants from burning coal to clean-burning natural gas (see Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas), it’s not anti-fossil fuel arguments that will shut down those plants. It’s good, old fashioned, American…lawsuits. Lawsuits brought by a competitor. You may recall Gov. Andrew Cuomo slogged through three feet of snow in December 2013 to announce in Dunkirk (near Buffalo) that he would provide state assistance to the NRG plant to convert from coal to natural gas (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). That was good news for Dunkirk. The Dunkirk electric plant provides something like 40% of all the tax revenue that flows into the coffers at the town. Can you imagine what would happen to local roads, public safety services (police and firefighters), and to the local school district, if the plant closed down? Imagine no more. A lawsuit brought by a competitor against NRG’s plan to convert has NRG saying the plant will close after all. NRG expects the lawsuit will take years to litigate–so by next March they’re shuttering the plant. There goes 40% of Dunkirk’s tax revenue–right down the toilet…
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Cuomo Dithers and Towns Like Gerry, NY Pay the Bill

Not only has NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s dithering and refusal to make a decision on whether or not to allow horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the state materially harmed tens of thousands of landowners and farmers in the state (not to mention all of those who would have had high-paying jobs in the industry), it’s also harmed taxpayers in places like Gerry (Chautauqua County), NY. Because Cuomo dithered and Norse Energy went bankrupt, a division of Norse, Norse Pipeline, also went bankrupt because the gas wasn’t available to run through their pipeline in places like Gerry. That pipeline was sold to Emkey and a court has just re-adjusted the assessment of that pipeline’s value–from $2,616,444 to $320,439, causing Gerry to lose $2,305,368 of its tax base. Not only that…
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Dunkirk NY Electric Plant Natgas Conversion Challenged in Lawsuit

There is precisely one (and only one) decision that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made with regard to clean-burning natural gas that we know of. Last December Gov. Cuomo trudged through three feet of snow in Dunkirk, NY to announce a deal had been struck to convert the local coal-burning electrical generating plant to burn natural gas instead (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). If the plant is not allowed to convert, it will close and 435 megawatts of electricity will disappear, and along with it, 40% of the taxes paid to local governments and the local school district will evaporate too. You might think environmentalists would be happy to have the plant convert from “dirty” coal to clean-burning natural gas. How have they responded? By filing lawsuits against the conversion…
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Western NY Power Plant Approval to Convert from Coal to Natgas

Last December His Lordship, the man-child Andrew Cuomo, slogged through the nasty snow in western New York to grant a wish to some of his subjects. He told Dunkirk that they have his permission to convert a coal-burning electric generating plant to burn natural gas (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). It may not sound like a big deal, but that plant was a whisker away from closing–and if it did, it would have gutted the region’s budget. The power plant contributes 42% of the revenue the City of Dunkirk collects in taxes, and 30% of the budget for the local school district. How did Dunkirk repay NRG Energy for keeping the plant open? By shoving a big stick in their eye with a vote to ban fracking (see Dunkirk, NY City Council Bites Off the NatGas Hand that Feeds It). How’s that for gratitude?! Last week the state Public Service Commission announced their final approval on NRG’s $140 million plan to convert the coal-burning plant to natgas…
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Unusual Letter to the Editor in Upstate NY Newspaper

A letter to the editor published in the Jamestown, NY Post-Journal is so unusual, it caught our eye and made us want to share it with you. As you know, there is an ongoing moratorium (let’s just call it a ban, because that’s what it really is) in New York–going on almost six years now. Some 70,000 landowners and a lone energy company, Norse Energy, are the only ones with the guts to sue to break the ban (see NY Hearing on JLCNY/Norse Lawsuit v Cuomo, Martens, Shah).

The letter to the editor we noticed is in some respects like many others. It points out the rank hypocrisy of anti-drillers in NY who oppose shale drilling when 1/3 of the state–including many in the anti-drilling movement–heat their homes with fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The letter also points out some other key arguments. The unusual thing about the letter? It’s from a former member of the NY State Assembly–a Democrat. THAT caught our attention…
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Chautauqua County Fed Pack of Lies about Fracking, Considers Ban

And so it begins. MDN told you yesterday about the City of Dunkirk, NY that has bitten off the natural gas hand that feed them–by passing a fracking ban (see Dunkirk, NY City Council Bites Off the NatGas Hand that Feeds It). The dolts on Dunkirk City Council said they want the entire county–Chautauqua County–to follow suit and ban fracking countywide. County legislators attended a special session Wednesday night where they heard some truth, and a whole lotta lies, about hydraulic fracturing.

Here’s how it went…
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Dunkirk, NY City Council Bites Off the NatGas Hand that Feeds It

bite off the hand that feeds youTalk about biting (off) the hand that feeds you. Get this one: The dunderheaded City Council members of Dunkirk, NY (near Buffalo) voted yesterday to ban fracking. Not only that, they want the entire county to follow suit! City Council members recited, almost chapter and verse, the same worn-out old lies told in Gasland, the fictitious movie from Josh Fox. After reading their comments we’re left to think the sum total of research done by the braintrust in Dunkirk into fracking was to munch popcorn and watch a movie. They apparently bought it hook, line and sinker. What dolts.

Here’s the thing. Three months ago almost to the day Andrew “can’t make a decision” Cuomo visited Dunkirk to tell them that the coal-powered electric generating plant that was about to close, and take some 40% of the local tax contributions to the City with it, had his lordship’s permission to convert to burning natural gas–fracked gas–instead (see Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas). City Council rejoiced. “Yah! We get to keep 40% of the taxes that would have disappeared overnight!” And now? “Ban that evil, nasty fracking.” The very same fracking that will bring natgas from other states to Dunkirk so they can burn it to make electricity. Maybe that electric plant should reconsider its decision and close after all. Hmmm….
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Marcellus Gas to the Rescue: WNY Customers Avoid Step Price Jump

National Fuel Gas Company is a large, integrated energy company with its HQ in Buffalo, NY. They have operations spanning from upstream (Seneca Resources, a major Marcellus Shale driller) to midstream pipelines to a downstream utility company serving customers in western New York State and northwestern Pennsylvania. A story from the NFG utility company caught our eye today. NFG is putting the word out to its hundreds of thousands of customers that they might want to consider hopping on the budget plan–to spread out their winter heating bill payments. Why are NFG’s customers paying a lot more this winter to heat with natural gas? Simply because this is one of the longest and coldest winters we’ve had in decades.

The interesting part of the NFG “you ought to get on the budget plan” story is that, according to the company, it could have been a lot worse than it is. The price of NFG’s natural gas is steady and has not gone up. What’s helping to save western NY (and NWPA) gas customers from huge price spikes being experienced elsewhere? PA Marcellus Shale gas…
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League of Liberal Democrat Women Voters Targets Fracking in WNY

Recently the Portland Town Board in western NY held a special meeting to learn more about fracking. So who did they have present? Who did they find to present the facts on both sides of this contentious issue? That’s right, the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters. You know–that “non-partisan” organization? (Excuse us as we now pick ourselves up off the floor from laughing so hard.)

The LO[LD]WV is, of course, extremely partisan, extremely liberal and extremely anti-drilling–so it’s no wonder the town board members in Portland (located near Buffalo), got an honest-to-goodness real western NY snow job…
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Dunkirk, NY Electric Plant Saved – Converting from Coal to NatGas

Looks like the good residents in Dunkirk, NY (near Buffalo) have dodged a major tax bullet. Last week MDN told you about hypocritical anti-drillers who oppose converting coal-powered electric plants in both Ithaca and Dunkirk into being powered by natural gas–simply because they don’t like fossil fuels (see Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas). As we pointed out, the plants in Dunkirk and Ithaca provide something like 40% of the tax revenue for the local towns and schools where they are located. Closing either plant would devastate that community and force some residents to leave after taxes skyrocket. The Dunkirk plant has been saved.

In a strange twist of fate, Gov. Andrew “the fracking ditherer” Cuomo slogged through three feet of snow in Dunkirk to crow that a deal has been reached to keep the plant open and convert it from burning coal to burning natural gas. Oh, the plant will burn natural gas fracked in other states and pipelined to NY. Ironic, no? Here’s the story…
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Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas

This is the tale of two electrical generating power plants. Both are located in New York State–on opposite sides of the state. One is in Tompkins County (near Ithaca, NY), the other in Chautauqua County (Dunkirk, near Buffalo, NY). Both are powered by coal and both will either need to convert to natural gas or close down.

Something else both have in common: anti-drilling nutters want them closed rather than converted  from burning coal to burning natural gas–even though closure means school and property taxes in both areas will go through the roof–higher than the nosebleed rates they already are. In both cases the power plants are the single largest taxpayer in their respective municipalities. Makes no difference to the nutters because most of them don’t live there and could care less. An update for both the Cayuga Power Plant and the Dunkirk Power Plant…
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