Greenidge (coal-fired) Power Plant outside of Dresden, New York (Town of Torrey, Yates County) closed in 2011. At one time it was the highest assessed property in Yates County. It was almost demolished, but new owners, Connecticut based Atlas Holdings, has retooled the power plant to start with bio-mass and solar power, and then using of natural gas to generate power for the region.
The DEC is requesting comments about their proposal. The following letter explains why the author is questioning the need to re-open Greenidge, It was written by the Chair of the Committee to Protect the Finger Lakes.
The following articles from the Penn Yan Chronicle Express about the re-opening of Greenidge includes reports of the local governments’ enthusiasm to have the Power Plant reopen.
Background Articles: Will Greenidge plant reopen?
Greenidge plant moves closer to restart in Torrey
Greenidge generation plant poised for restart this fall
8-16-15 Letter to the Editor,
Reopening of the Dresden- Greenidge Power plant
NY State has supported not drilling for natural gas using hydrofracking techniques. Professors at Cornell University have made studies finding that natural gas pollutes as much as coal if you take into account the process of drilling for gas. The Dresden plant has been closed since 2011 and I have heard no comments from people not having electricity available to them because of the closure. NY State is focusing on renewable energy via its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program. Consistent with REV program there is a strong movement in the Finger Lakes by individuals, and companies to use solar to generate electricity. My wife and I have had solar on our home for 7 years. Many people we know have also installed solar. This creates less demand on the power plants.
The news articles also state that the Greenidge plant will use biomass for a while and install some solar and then focus exclusively on natural gas. This is a public relations effort to get the community and elected officials to agree that they are working to be environmentally holistic. Yet their final focus is using natural gas.
The need for electricity generated by a new plant is going down. A new plant might help during peak energy use periods, but how many hours a week of generation does that address? If any. According to published information the company has invested 45 million of which 14 million which came from the Federal Department of Energy to upgrade the plant to use natural gas. They have influenced communities with the increase of 20 jobs and more taxes.
What the community, elected officials and investors need to see is the business plan and how much energy the plant will generate for the users over a 10 year period. In addition, the investors need to see the risks to the environmental, the community and health.
From the news articles there is a clear focus by the company, Connecticut based Atlas Holdings, to influence the community, elected officials and the DEC that this is an environmentally sound and an economically feasible approach.
The need for electricity generated by the plant will go down as time goes on in this area since there is a large move by many individuals and business, including wineries , toward using solar generated electricity and moving away from electricity generated by fossil fuel power plants. .
The governor and the DEC who support not drilling for natural gas via hydrofracking in NY, need to address the environmental risks , the investors need to address financial risks and NYSEG needs to address the infrastructure needs.
The community, elected officials, the DEC and investors also need to know the whole story not just the parts that seem progressive and acceptable.
I urge the public to use the DEC public comment period which ends Sept 11th to express their thoughts and concerns. The site to make comments is: http//on.ny.gov/1hAhuqw.
Peter Gamba – Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes
Is the re-tooled, re-opening of the Greenidge Power Plant a real step forward? Is it necessary? Is it taking funds away from the real future of energy production?
(A Thanks to reader Bob McGill for suggesting an article on the Greenidge Power Plant)