NRG: Western NY coal plant conversion in jeopardy due to Entergy lawsuit

Dive Brief:

  • A plan to convert NRG Energy's coal-fired plant in Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, New York, to burn natural gas has been delayed following a lawsuit by Entergy which challenged subsidies for the facility.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had backed the $140 million deal, which would have provided 435 MW of cleaner power for a decade.
  • Entergy's lawsuit challenges the subsidies approved by the New York Public Service Commission which allowed the project to move forward, and could have an impact on similar proposals floated for other aging plants in the state.

Dive Insight:

A spokesman for NRG Energy has confirmed that plans to convert thre Dunkirk facility are officialls "on hold" in response to Entergy's lawsuit, filed earlier this year. 

The lawsuit "just created so much uncertainty for the project that we were forced to put it on hold at this point until some kind of resolution," spokesman David Gaier told the Democrat & Chronicle. "As you know, the resolution of a lawsuit like this could take years."

Entergy, which owns the Indian Point nuclear facility in Westchester County, challenged subsidies from the state and ratepayers saying it amounted to unlawful tampering in wholesale markets. The suit could also impact similar proposals at other older coal-fired facilities in the state.

Repowering the Dunkirk facility was expected to create approximately 50 construction jobs, preserve permanent jobs at the site, and restore tax payments to local governments, according to a statement from Cuomo last year.

Over the summer the Sierra Club along with a group of 70 state officials asked Cuomo to reconsider the deal, arguing that the "Dunkirk coal plant bailout will cost New York energy customers over $200 million over the next 10 years, plus an additional $15 million from the New York Power Authority."

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Filed Under: Generation Regulation & Policy