Noting that the closing of the power plants could cause reliability concerns, New York state regulators have directed National Grid USA and New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) to evaluate repowering as an alternative outcome for the Dunkirk generating station and the Cayuga generating stations, respectively (Case 12-E-0577).
The companies will evaluate the relative costs and benefits of repowering the plants at their existing sites in upstate New York compared to alternative transmission upgrades over the long term, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) said on Jan. 17. The benefits to be evaluated include the reliability, environmental and customer impacts related to the repowering and transmission solutions.
As part of the evaluation, the companies will file with state Department of Public Service staff projected costs of the transmission alternatives that they propose to evaluate, solicit bids from the current owners of the Dunkirk and Cayuga plants for the level of support required to finance repowering of their respective facilities, and file reports analyzing repowering alternatives in terms of reliability and other impacts and make recommendations to the PSC.
A National Grid spokesperson told TransmissionHub on Jan. 21 that the company will comply with the order as quickly as possible.
According to the PSC’s order, repowering existing generation facilities can produce significant benefits in terms of enhanced system reliability, electric market competitiveness and emissions reductions.
Citing these potential benefits, the New York Energy Highway Task Force Blueprint provided to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recommended that electric utilities be required to analyze repowering as an alternative to transmission system upgrades when a facility needed for reliability proposes to retire, the PSC said.
The Blueprint identified the Dunkirk and Cayuga plants as appropriate candidates for studying the option of repowering, the PSC said, adding that National Grid and NYSEG have entered into short-term reliability support services (RSS) agreements with the generators to keep them available in order to avoid reliability issues associated with the shutdown of the plants.
The utilities are also pursuing transmission reinforcements or other alternatives that can be put in place quickly and would be an alternative to an RSS for some or all of the generation capacity in the immediate term, that is one to four years.
The PSC also said that to the extent that these reinforcements or alternatives do not address the entire impact of the plant retirements, the utilities have proposed transmission solutions that will address the associated reliability impacts in the long term but that will take four or more years to complete.
According to the PSC, the coal-fired Dunkirk generating station, located in Chautauqua County, N.Y., consists of four units with combined nameplate rating of more than 635 MW. Units 1 and 2 are each rated at 100 MW and Units 3 and 4 are each rated at 217.6 MW.
The Cayuga facility, located in Lansing, N.Y., consists of two coal-fired units with a combined capacity of more than 312 MW, with Unit 1 having a net capacity rating of 154 MW and 158.7 MW for Unit 2.
National Grid is a subsidiary of National Grid plc. NYSEG is a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, which is a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A.