New York PSC seeks grid reliability data related to Niagara shutdown

The New York State Public Service Commission wrote a March 7 letter to the New York ISO and Niagara Mohawk Power asking for more grid reliability information related to plans by Niagara Generation LLC to mothball a 51-MW facility as of May 9.

In a Feb. 7 letter to the commission, Niagara Generation said it intends to mothball a boiler and a 51-MW steam generator located in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The March 7 letter to NYISO and Niagara Mohawk said those companies should work together as necessary to perform an analysis to determine the effects of mothballing this unit on electric system reliability and local reliability issues, and to propose solutions in the event the mothballing will adversely affect reliability.

“Since Niagara Generation, LLC intends to mothball, I request that the NYISO and Niagara Mohawk perform a study of the impacts with that unit out of service beginning May 2013 using North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC), New York State Reliability Council (NYSRC) and Niagara Mohawk planning criteria,” said the letter. The letter asked for a response by March 28.

Niagara Generation said in the Feb. 8 notice 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 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.”

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.”

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.