Tuesday, April 1, 2008

TransGas Energy Electricity Power Plant Proposal Killed

On March 27, the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment refused to issue TransGas Energy Systems (TGE) a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, a document necessary for TGE to proceed with construction of a gas-fired power plant. The Siting Board concluded the proposed facility is:

* Incompatible with public health and safety because the back-up oil storage tank is needed; * Inconsistent with New York City’s land use regulations because of 2 million gallons of oil storage capacity;
* Inconsistent with the State’s interest in recreational resources, in light of New York City’s plan to construct a 28-acre park surrounding Bushwick Inlet;
* Unable to minimize adverse environmental impacts considering the interest of the state with respect to aesthetics;
* Not in compliance with the applicable local coastal zone management policy; and The benefits to the electric system of Con Ed, its customers and the general public do not outweigh the adverse environmental impacts that would result from the construction of the facility.

TransGas Energy Systems LLC (TGE) proposed to construct and operate the TransGas Energy Facility (the Project), a 1,100-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power generation facility on the East River between the Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s North Side sections of Brooklyn. The proposed Project wouldhave been fueled primarily by natural gas. The Project was designed to provide baseload electricity to one or more New York City load pockets and also includes the heat recovery and delivery infrastructure for potential steam sales to the steam system of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison).

The Project was to have consisted of four 501F Siemens Westinghouse combustion turbines, Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), two steam turbines, water treatment infrastructure, an electrical switchyard, and a steam cycle cooling system. When natural gas supplies are curtailed during cold, winter weather, the Project proposes to use the lowest available sulfur content backup oil (at most 0.05%). The Project site is zoned for heavy industrial use (M3), the only zoning district category in New York City that permits electric generating. The site is heavily contaminated, and will be remediated as part of Project construction. (Complete TGE Project Description)

The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning (GWAPP) opposed the project. They believe the area should be a continuous waterfront promenade that would culminate at the Bushwick Inlet, bringing Greenpoint and Williamsburge Waterfronts together and linking them to upland neighborhoods, including McCarren Park. They cite the Brooklyn Community Board 1's 197-a plans for the Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfronts and he Williamsburg and Greenpoint 197-a plans as calling for the promenade. The GWAPP believes this waterfront park would also serve as a piece of the coming Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, linking Brooklyn neighborhoods along the waterfront from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. They believe the powerplant threatens the city's planned 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park. They complain that the 325-foot smokestacks would spew 1,075 tons per year of toxic emissions. Some local groups also claim that this plant is not needed to meet NYC's energy needs. (See: StopthePowerPlant)

AAEA did not take a position on the plant proposal.

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