Friday, May 2, 2008

Replacing Charles Poletti With A New Electricity Powerplant

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has authorized the selection of Astoria Energy LLC to provide electricity to NYPA's government customers in the city. Astoria Energy plans to build a new natural gas-fueled generating plant in Queens to supply power under a proposed 20-year contract with NYPA. The plant will help make up for the Power Authority's scheduled retirement in January 2010 of the Charles Poletti Power Project, also in Astoria. Astoria Energy expects the new plant, which is fully licensed, to be in service by the summer of 2011.

We were wondering how a new powerplant could be approved without an Article X powerplant licensing law (review process) in place, but evidently this plant had been previously approved before the expiration of Article X of the New York State Public Service Law . In 2001, the New York State Siting Board approved the construction of 1,000 mw of generating capacity at a 23-acre site in Astoria. Astoria Energy completed the first phase of the project in May 2006 when it placed in service a 500-mw combined-cycle facility for providing power to Con Edison. The pending supply contract with the Power Authority provides for Astoria Energy's implementation of the next phase with the construction of the second 500-mw facility.

NYPA trustees authorized the new supply contract, pending completion of final negotiations with Astoria Energy and the approval of the agreement by the New York City governmental customers, for the supply of 500 megawatts (mw) of generating capacity. The customers include the City of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Housing Authority and the New York State Office of General Services. The new supply contract will provide reliable generating capacity for New York City schools and hospitals, the subways and commuter trains, public housing and other essential services in the city.

The new state-of-the-art, natural gas fueled power plant planned by Astoria Energy
will use a combined-cycle technology in which hot exhaust gas normally lost in the combustion process is captured by heatrecovery steam generators to produce additional electricity. The new facility will consume 30 percent less fuel per unit of electricity than a conventional power plant. Combined-cycle technology enables NYPA's 500-mw power plant to generate 50 percent more electricity from its fuel than it would with a conventional single-cycle power system. Under this dual-phase system, two combustion turbine-generators operate in conjunction with two heat-recovery steam generators and a steam turbine-generator. In the first cycle, fuel is burned and the resulting combustion gases power two turbine-generators to produce electricity. Hot exhaust normally lost during this process is captured and routed through the two heat-recovery steam generators. These units boil water to create steam, which spins an additional turbine-generator and produces more electricity. Finally, the steam is discharged into a condenser, which returns the steam to its liquid state for recycling.

In addition to that proposal, NYPA previously selected a joint proposal by Hudson Transmission and FPL Energy, in November 2006 that would involve construction of a new 345- kilovolt transmission line under the Hudson River to deliver up to 500 mw of supply capacity from an existing power plant in Central New Jersey. The additional power supplies from both RFPs are needed for the New York City governmental customers' long-term needs.

NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. It is the nation's largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. (The Queens Gazette) (NYPA Combined Cycle)

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