Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
Developer of the proposed Ulster County 20 megawatt power plant fired back at “several inaccurate assertions” made by the County Executive.
Another case of irrational fossil fuel hatred has cropped up in (surprise!) New York State, in Ulster County (Hudson Valley area). This time the hater is Democrat County Executive Michael Hein. He doesn’t want a teeny tiny 20 megawatt gas-fired electric generating plant because he’d rather have thousands of acres plastered with solar panels and/or windmills, to produce the same drop of electricity this small gas-fired plant would produce.
We have to wonder: Why is no one calling for psychological tests of these people? They are literally insane! Pathological conditions. Hein is fine with solar panels and windmills junking up the landscape, but not with a single tiny power plant that nobody would even see. Why? Because it doesn’t have the word “renewable” in the title. And because it uses an evil, vile, nasty “fossil fuel” called natural gas to power it.
The plant, proposed by GlidePath, is a “peaker.” It’s a small electric generating plant (powered by natural gas) that doesn’t even run most of the time! It only comes online during “peak” electric demand periods–times when the grid needs some extra juice. It’s used to avoid blackouts, like the one happening right now in Los Angeles.
But perhaps Hein and his buddy Andy Cuomo actually *want* New Yorkers to experience prolonged blackouts? GlidePath has responded, strongly, to the blithering idiot Hein, to set the record straight and correct Hein’s lies. Prepare to enter through the Looking Glass.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein has turned lobbyist in an effort to keep GlidePath developers from getting approval for a proposed 20-megawatt electric generating plant in the town of Ulster.
In a telephone interview Friday, Hein said he has met with officials with the state Public Service Commission and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to lay out his concerns about the proposed project.
“The question really is (about) projects that are inconsistent with the governor’s stated targets for transition to renewable sources versus further expanding a fossil fuel-based system,” he said.
Hein said having the ear of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is important because it provides financial incentives for electricity producers.
“Since they fund significant … commitments to energy projects, they may well play a role in the underlying economics,” he said.
GlidePath, under the name Lincoln Park DG LLC, has proposed to use about three acres of a 122-acre project site, which consist of three parcels that are owned by Kingston Landing LLC and extend from Miron Lane to state Route 32.
Hein described the project has test case for whether similar projects could be proposed in other parts of the county.
“The bigger, overarching issue … (is) because of the way these government policies currently exist, the very real possibly of this project, which is not tied to renewables, as well as many others, could dot our landscape, and that’s not something I’m OK with,” he said.
Hein noted that the county Legislature’s Democratic caucus has submitted a letter in opposition to the project.
“There is clearly shared concern that a county that is such an environmental model like Ulster County is being targeted and … that it is easier to get permits specifically because we have clean air and that’s one of the prerequisites for this type of plant,” he said. “You have to get an air quality permit and it’s easier to get in a place like this, where air quality is higher, rather than in places closer to (New York) City.”
Hein argues that GlidePath’s plans for a 50,000-gallon diesel storage tank and for the project to be serviced by natural gas make the project incompatible with the county’s environmental goals.
“This type of project … is something we would not have engaged in,” Hein said. “It’s the fact that there is underlying regulation that open up all Ulster County for these types of fossil fuel plants.”
GlidePath Chief Development Officer Peter Rood was not immediately available Friday for comment, but in a July 2 letter to Hein argued that other systems have been considered for the facilities.
“Traditional thermal generators, cutting-edge energy storage and renewable sources like wind, water, and solar can be understood as sort of energy ecosystem — these facilities all have their pros and cons,” he wrote. “But at this point in human history and advancement of technology, we really need each and every type of energy producer active and online in order for the system to work well as a whole. … We have done our homework in designing this project and we firmly believe that there are no other technologies that can provide these services with the reliability any community would expect and at a cost that ratepayers would willingly accept.”
Hein said he was able to get the state agencies to acknowledge that the plant, which is proposed to provide electricity during periods of high demand on the grid, is being proposed because the New York City metropolitan area is seen as having the greatest demand.
Rood, in his letter, also contends the project meets goals set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and officials from both agencies Hein met with.
“Governor Cuomo announced in January a statewide target of 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025,” Rood wrote. “On June 21, (the state Public Service Commission) and NYSERDA released their Energy Storage Roadmap. … Hybridized projects, just like (Lincoln Park) are cited as one of the near-term, economically attractive opportunities that can be deployed to help New York meet its storage target.”
Last month, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein released a statement of opposition to a 20-megawatt electric generating power plant proposed for the Town of Ulster, a project he said he believed, “threatens our citizens and our environment.” This week, GlidePath Power Solutions, LLC, the company behind the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center power plant, responded.
In a letter addressed to Hein by Peter Rood, GlidePath’s chief development officer, sought to address what he called “misconceptions about our company and the proposed project” in Hein’s June 14 letter to the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as a meeting between developers and the county executive on Wednesday, June 27.
“Your letter, unfortunately, makes several inaccurate assertions about the project,” wrote Rood. “While we were disappointed to not have been invited to speak directly with you about the county’s concerns, nor to have had the opportunity to provide you with accurate information prior to publication of your letter, we appreciate the subsequent meeting with you and your staff. GlidePath remains willing to work with the county and other stakeholders to address each of those stated concerns herein.”
The GlidePath-run power plant, currently undergoing an environmental review, would operate on a small parcel of a 121-acre site off Frank Sottile Boulevard. According to developer Lincoln Park DG LLC’s plans, a building housing the equipment would stand for between 30-40 feet in height; an exhaust stack would rise above the structure, and though developers were initially determined to keep that below the 100-foot height limit for the area, though developers several weeks ago said they’d scaled back the proposed height to around 80 feet, and hoped to get the stack lower than the tree line along the property, which is roughly 70 feet high. The project would include the 20 MW lithium ion battery array, and natural gas-powered reciprocating engine generators which would switch to on-site low-sulfur diesel stored in a tank if the gas supply is disrupted.
Hein’s public statement, released on Friday, June 15, said he’d one day earlier sought aid from NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission in suspending the project until policy changes could be enacted to “allow for a non-fossil fuel alternative, such as a battery-only or battery with renewable facility.”
“Current state and federal policy is severely flawed and is in stark contrast to Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s stated environmental goals,” said Hein in his statement. “As a result of these policies, Ulster County is now faced with a fossil fuel project that includes gas engines, hundred foot smokestacks, and air pollution impacts. If this project is allowed to proceed, the result will be a lose-lose outcome that will negatively impact our quality of life and further entrench the fossil fuel industry as well as the market for ‘fracked’ gas.”
Hein said the project in its current incarnation is designed to benefit downstate communities and investors rather than the local community in which it would sit, adding that more rigorous oversight could result in projects like the one proposed by Lincoln Park DG LLC becoming better for the environment, the economy and the local community.
“With the right state and federal policy changes, this project could be transformed into one that supports the growth of our local tax base while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our residents,” Hein said. “In Ulster County, we believe that what strengthens our environment also strengthens our community and our economy and by hosting the best and most advanced renewable energy and storage projects, we can do just that.”
But Rood argued that there is a need for the project locally as a response to data published by the New York Independent System Operator about the need for addition resources in the state’s Zone G, which covers Ulster, Greene, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Rockland counties. Rood added that despite Hein’s contention, areas outside Zone G such as Westchester County, New York City or Long Island would be served by the Lincoln Park project.
“The project will benefit local residents, not metropolitan New York,” wrote Rood. “It is simply inaccurate to assert that the [power plant] is proposed here in Ulster County only to serve the energy demands of New York City. The project will be connected to the low-voltage portion of the Lincoln Park substation, the same system to which numerous local businesses, homes and community facilities are currently connected. Because the grid operator is required to dispatch cheaper energy first, and [the power plant] will provide cheaper and cleaner energy, it will be utilized before the older, dirtier, fossil fuel plants in the region. All electric consumers across Ulster County would use and benefit from the reliability of services provided by the project because the LPGSC will offer the same service at a lower cost.”
Rood acknowledged that because of the interconnected statewide grid, it’s possible the state could pull energy from the Lincoln Park project to use elsewhere, though he added that it would be “extremely unlikely” that such a need would arise.
GlidePath also took exception to other issues raised by Hein, noting that the project actually aligns with Cuomo’s energy plans to source 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables and reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent by 2030.
“By providing a more efficient way to provide capacity and other ancillary services, the [power plant] will displace the current providers of grid support services, which are often older fuel-oil and gas-turbine generators,” wrote Rood. “[The power plant] will provide the same services with significantly less emissions.”
Rood added that the batteries would enable the project to provide frequency regulation services necessary to balance variations in output due to shifts in the environment from wind and sunlight.
While he said he understood concerns from Hein and local residents opposed to the project, Rood said that the developer would continue to be candid moving forward.
“We understand that the community is interested in fully understanding our project’s emissions and we have committed to sharing detailed data about our emissions, including sources, assumptions and calculations, throughout the SEQRA review and DEC permitting processes as we move though the SEQRA process,” Rood wrote. “We are happy to further discuss the constraints of today’s technology and why certain energy production and storage projects are required in particular regions.”
The next meeting of the Ulster Town Board is scheduled for Thursday, July 19.
Editor’s Note: Ulster County’s position is completely disingenuous and Mike Hein, the County Executive, is deceiving the public. He repeatedly claims the Ulster County uses 100% or more renewable energy. That’s not true. A review of the county tax records for its two main buildings—the Ulster County Office Building at 244 Fair Street and the Ulster County Office Complex at 1 Development Court in Kingston, indicates both are served by natural gas Hein doesn’t want produced in his county.
Hein’s claim of 100% or more renewable energy is based on the erroneous theory that energy produced by this 1.9 MW solar project on a county landfill (good idea if it weren’t for all the subsidies involved), for example, will go into the grid and offset the gas actually used to heat buildings. That theory is false.
First, the solar project produces energy when it’s often not needed and often can’t produce it when it is needed. This means gas and electricity produced with gas are still very needed and there is no effective replacement for them. The solar project is redundant and bilks both ratepayers and taxpayers.
Secondly, solar projects operate with a capacity factor of only roughly 25-35%, meaning the actual electricity generated is only about a third of the rated capacity, while natural gas plants today operate at a capacity factor of roughly two-thirds. Therefore, direct comparisons of solar and gas capacities inherently overstate the ability to substitute for gas even if the sun shined precisely when we wanted it to do so.
What Mike Hein is doing, most of the time, is buying and selling imaginary renewable energy that is actually provided by gas and, yet, wants none of the latter produced anywhere near him. How very Hudson Valley of him – how slimy green.