By Leonard Sparks
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at 7:15 PM
Updated Aug 3, 2018 at 11:17 PM
TOWN OF NEWBURGH — A proposed $400 million replacement for Danskammer’s current electric-generating plant in the Town of Newburgh would “dramatically reduce” the need for natural gas and lead to “substantially lower prices” that would justify its use as a year-round power source, the facility’s owner wrote in an updated filing with the state.
An amended “Public Involvement Program Plan” filed on July 25 with the state Department of Public Service by Danskammer Energy LLC predicts that replacing the current plant’s 1950s- and 1960s-era steam-generating units with modern turbines would also reduce emissions.
The company said it cannot “reliably estimate” the new facility’s impact on prices or emissions until its design in finalized.
“The new Danskammer Energy Center can be expected to reduce both the wholesale market price of electricity and the total air emissions in the Lower Hudson Valley,” the company said.
“It will displace older, less-efficient plants that require higher energy prices to operate profitably and produce higher levels of air emissions when they do operate.”
In a May 24 filing with the state Public Service Commission, Danskammer Energy outlined a plan to replace the existing plant with a new one producing more energy on the same 18-acre property off River Road.
The “Danskammer Energy Center” would house a natural gas-powered turbine and a steam turbine that would increase generation capacity to between 525 and 575 megawatts, compared to the current 511 megawatts.
Danskammer currently operates as a peaking facility that powers up to fill energy needs at times of high demand, such as during hot weather. The new plant would be capable of operating as a round-the-clock “baseload” facility for the New York Independent System Operator, which monitors the state’s electricity distribution system.
“The new plant will be able to offer electricity to NYISO at substantially lower prices, which will give the NYISO greater flexibility in increasing the hours of operation at that facility to allow it to run as a baseload generating facility as part of the backbone of the electricity supply system in the lower Hudson Valley,” Danskammer Energy said.
The new facility would also use an “air-cooled condensing” system designed to “eliminate” the drawing of water from the Hudson River for cooling, according to the filing. The water draws, and accompanying discharges of heated water, have long angered environmentalists.
Water needs would be supplied by the Town of Newburgh, according to Danskammer Energy. With the end of water draws, impacts to fish “will be eliminated,” the company said.