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Reality Strikes: Another New Gas-Fired NY Power Plant

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reports

Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)

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A new NY power plant to be fueled with natural gas is coming to fruition demonstrating the futility of fighting reality, even in the Emperor’s State.

Somehow, someway, a new natural gas-fired electric plant is in the process of getting built–in anti-fracking New York State. It’s happening in Orange County, at a I-84 interchange near Middletown. Unfortunately, it seems that part of the reason it slipped through and got an approval involved an allegedly corrupt (and very close) aide to New York Governor (a/k/a Emperor) Andrew Cuomo. We have news: a second natural gas-fired electric plant is now planned in neighboring Dutchess County, New York. The 1,100 megawatt plant is majority owned by JERA Co., Inc., a Japanese company and is known as the Cricket Valley Energy Center.

We certainly hope it gets built – but, boy oh boy, we wouldn’t lay money on it, given the corrupt climate that exists in New York State.

Cricket Valley Energy Center - A New NY Power Plant to be built in the Hudson Valley, of all places

Cricket Valley Energy Center – A new NY Power Plant to be built in the Hudson Valley, of all places

Here’s the announcement from JERA:

JERA Co., Inc. (“JERA”) will participate in a natural gas-fired thermal power generation project in New York State through the project’s operating company.

The operating company, Cricket Valley Energy Center, will construct a natural gas-fired combined cycle power generation plant with a power generation capacity of 1,100 MW in Dover, Dutchess County, New York, targeting commencement of commercial operations in 2020. The power produced will be sold on the wholesale electricity market in New York.

JERA acquired an equity stake of approximately 44% in the operating company, becoming its largest investor, and will be a lead contributor to drive the project forward utilizing its expertise in power plant construction and operational know-how accumulated through participation in the overseas IPP business.

In July 2016, JERA succeeded to Chubu Electric Power Company and TEPCO Fuel & Power overseas power generation projects. This is the first new power generation project outside of Japan in which JERA will take part.

Going forward, JERA will continue to be proactive in expanding its overseas power generation business, taking into account market trends, profitability, and risk, and in applying the know-how gained overseas to its domestic power generation business in order to further enhance corporate value.*

As an aside, JERA is a joint venture between two utility companies: TEPCO and Chubu Electric. JERA is the largest importer of LNG in Japan.

Editor’s Note: There are several interesting aspects to this news from Jim. First, of course, is the fact it’s taking place in New York. The Emperor State is politically anti-gas, of course, unwilling to frack, unwilling to approve pipelines and committed to an unachievable utopian vision of covering Upstate New York with solar and wind farms. Even more astounding is the fact Dutchess County is in the Hudson Valley, where logic and reason are  forever captive to aesthetics, gentry class rule and political correctness. How can this all be? 

Well, the answer is partly one of time and money. This project apparently started in 2009 with the initial filing of a Special Permit Application with the Town of Dover, Dutchess County. Eight years later and it’s just now getting to the point of possible construction. The insanity of how long it takes to do anything in New York makes it incredible that anything at all ever happens there. Only those with extraordinarily deep pockets of time and money can do business in the Emperor State.

Another part of the answer is this; the site “has existing energy infrastructure, including electric power lines and a natural gas pipeline, as well as a substantial tree buffer that will minimize visual and sound impacts.” This means new pipeline was necessary and the project design was tailored to avoid offending the snooty sensibilities of Hudson Valley NIMBY types. The developer also went to extraordinarily lengths in conducting a public participation process during review and approval. Just take a look at this list of meetings to get an indication of how much was done in this regard. The fact it is “a $1.4 billion dollar investment that will contribute substantially to the tax base with no significant demand for services” didn’t hurt either.

NY Power Plant

The largest factor, though, is probably the sheer need for such facilities. New York State is growing, not shrinking, its natural gas use and with Indian Point due to close down the road, alternative sources of electrical power are crucial and must be fueled with something. Solar and wind farms may be neat in the minds of the gentry class utopians but they don’t get a lot of political traction in places where these same folks build their second homes. This is the hard reality; New York must build more natural gas fired electric generating plants. And, it’s not alone, as a recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) article noted:

The electricity industry is planning to increase natural gas-fired generating capacity by 11.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 and 25.4 GW in 2018, based on information reported to EIA. If these plants come online as planned, annual net additions in natural gas capacity would be at their highest levels since 2005. On a combined basis, these 2017–18 additions would increase natural gas capacity by 8% from the capacity existing at the end of 2016. Depending on the timing and utilization of these plants, the new additions could help natural gas maintain its status as the primary energy source for power generation, even if natural gas prices rise moderately.

And, here’s the latest from the EIA; the chart says it all:

NY Power Plant

Yes, government can twist and distort economic laws for a time but, ultimately, economic laws prevail. Natural gas is the cleanest and most economic fuel source for generating electricity today without massive financial subsidies and NIMBY wars over every tiny solar and wind farm. The Cricket Valley Energy Center is a sign that reality still prevails, even in New York. 

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One thought on “Reality Strikes: Another New Gas-Fired NY Power Plant

  1. I just drove by the Dresden, NY ‘Greenidge’ power plant this morning and see evidence that the new Fuel Gas Line to it gas from the north-south Empire Pipeline is across the highway and into the plant. No steam from the stacks yet, but soon it will be another coal-to-gas conversion that will make the Emperor State more dependent on clean gas from PA.

    It will soon become a key source of power for that hotbed of anti-gas fervor, Ithaca, NY. But, at higher cost due to line-losses though, since The Ithacans are fighting tooth and nail to keep their closest-by power plant from receiving gas fuel!

    They don’t want it (or anyone else) to burn either coal or gas; it is time to let them shiver in the cold and dark a bit!

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