Niagara Generation to mothball New York plant as of May 9

Niagara Generation LLC, the owner and operator of a power plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y., plans to mothball that facility as of May 9 of this year.

The company said in a Feb. 8 notice filed with the New York State Public Service Commission that this facility is comprised of one boiler and one 51 MW steam turbine generator. “The 51 MW pyropower solid fuel fired steam Facility was first operational in 1990,” the notice added. The notice indicates the facility is fired with biomass.

The notice was filed in a standing commission docket where the PSC seeks early warning on power plant shutdowns so adjustments can be made in the local and regional transmission grids.

“The current power prices and market conditions in New York State are such that it is no longer economical for Niagara Generation to continue operating the Facility,” said Niagara Generation. “The Facility will remain capable of generating power until the Mothball Date. After the Mothball Date, Niagara Generation will ensure that appropriate maintenance is conducted such that the Facility can be returned to service in the future. Niagara Generation will also continue to comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations, including maintaining valid environmental permits and authorizations.”

Niagara Generation said it has sent a copy of this notice to the New York ISO. Niagara Generation has also provided a copy of this notice to National Grid, the company within whose service territory the facility is located and to which the facility is interconnected.

The company said in a March 2012 filing with the commission: “NiGen is the owner and operator of a 51 MW electric generating facility equipped with a circulating fluidized bed boiler in Niagara Falls, New York (‘Facility’). NiGen is a majority-owned, indirect subsidiary of U.S. Renewables Group (USRG), one of the largest private equity firms focused exclusively on investments in renewable power, biofuels and clean technology infrastructure. USRG was founded in 2003 and has mobilized more than $750 million of capital commitments to invest in renewable projects. Included in these investments was the purchase and renovation of the Facility, which historically burned coal and tire-derived fuel (TDF), allowing it to burn biomass in support of New York State’s renewable energy goals.”

The March 2012 filing, which was about what should be the allowed renewable fuels at the plant, later added: “After NiGen made substantial investments to allow for the co-firing of biomass in the Facility, biomass operations commenced on March 25, 2008 and RPS REC sales commenced on May 1, 2008. In the first full year of biomass co-firing, the Facility produced an average of 6.3 net-MW of biomass generation, displacing over 34,000 tons of coal and providing enough renewable power to supply nearly 6,000 homes.”

Said the U.S. Renewables Group website about this plant: “Niagara Generation is a 52 MW multi fuel power plant located in New York. In 2007, the Project was converted from a coal fired power plant to burn wood biomass and tire derived fuel. The facility sells power to Shell Energy North America, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. The Project has a long-term renewable energy credit agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.