Cricket Valley offers its 1,000-MW gas project as Indian Point option

Cricket Valley Energy Center LLC (CVEC), developer of a 1,000-MW gas-fired plant, was one of several parties to file project proposals on May 20 at the New York State Public Service Commission as possible replacements for the 2,040-MW Indian Point nuclear plant.

The proposals were lodged within a docket where the commission ordered the New York Power Authority to issue a request for proposals for projects (both generation and transmission) needed in case Indian Point can’t win extensions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses for its two units.

Indian Point consists of Units 2 and 3, each capable of producing about 1,020 MW for a total output of 2,040 MW. Unit 2’s NRC-issued license expires in September 2013 and Unit 3’s NRC license expires in December 2015. Entergy (NYSE: ETR) has submitted a timely request to the NRC to extend its licenses, which are currently pending. Entergy is also facing issues about water permitting related to the plant.

The Cricket Valley project will be located at the town of Dover in Dutchess County, N.Y. The project has three separate powertrains each consisting of: one GE 7F 5-series combustion turbine generator (CTG); one heat recovery steam generator (HRSG); one GE A14 steam turbine generator (collectively referred to as a “Power Block” or “1x1x1 configuration”); and one air-cooled steam condenser (ACC). The HRSGs will each include a natural gas-fired duct burner (supplemental firing system) to allow for additional electricity production during periods of high demand.

“The new generation GE 7F 5-Series combustion turbines will enable the Project to produce electricity at a heat rate of less than 7,000 Btu per kWh, making it one of the most efficient generating units in NYISO,” said the project description filed with the PSC. “The Project’s configuration (three independent Power Blocks) will create strong operational flexibility for reduced start times and load-following response. Based on independent studies, the Facility is expected to have an annual availability of 93 percent or greater, while achieving summer peak availability of 98 percent or greater. These features allow the Project to serve as a dependable base-load generation alternative to the retirement of the Indian Point units and help maintain the reliable operation of the power grid.”

Developer says project in a good place for gas supply

The project site is immediately adjacent to both a Consolidated Edison Co. of New York (ConEd) 345-kV transmission line (Line 398) and to the Iroquois Gas Transmission System (IGTS) pipeline within the ConEd Line 398 right of way.

The Facility will utilize natural gas as the sole fuel for its combustion turbines and HRSG duct burners. “There will be an ample supply for natural gas as fuel for the Project,” the company noted. “The Project is adjacent to the actively drilled Marcellus Shale basin and several new pipeline projects are under development which will enable Marcellus gas to reach New York markets. IGTS has announced plans to add physical receipt capability to its interconnection with Dominion and via a new interconnection with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company at Pleasant Valley, NY. In 2015, the proposed Constitution Pipeline is expected to be completed and interconnected with IGTS. The Constitution Pipeline will supply an incremental 650,000 MMBtu/day of Marcellus gas into IGTS at Wright, NY.”

An approximately 500-foot-long 12-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline will extend from a new natural gas metering station, located on the project site to the IGTS 24-inch interstate high pressure pipeline located on the northern portion of the ConEd transmission line right-of-way that abuts the project site.

The project has obtained all pre-construction permits for the generation facility, including but not limited to air and wetland permits, as well as a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the New York commission and approval for lightened regulation.

CVEC is a special purpose entity created to develop, own, operate and maintain this facility. It is currently owned by Advanced Power AG (APAG) and Marubeni Corp. GE Energy LLC, a subsidiary of General Electric (NYSE: GE), has an option to purchase a 40% interest in CVEC from APAG. GE Energy has exercised its option and is in the process of becoming a formal owner of CVEC, subject to legal documentation, the report said.

Marubeni is a publicly traded Japanese company. APAG is owned by its management, board members and 3i, a London-based private equity company. APAG currently has 2,100 MW of projects in development.

2011 study for GE looked at issues related to Indian Point

Among the documents filed by Cricket Valley is a 2011 study done for GE Energy Global Development and Strategic Initiatives (GDSI) by the Energy Consulting (EC) group to conduct a Security-Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED) study in support of the environmental impact study (EIS) for the Cricket Valley project.

To perform the SCED study, EC used GE Energy’s Multi-Area Production Simulation software application for a transmission constrained, production simulation of the regions surrounding Cricket Valley within the Eastern Interconnection (EI) for years 2015 through 2020.

“Generally speaking, the addition of Cricket Valley to the New York Pool results in an increase in energy production within the NY Pool, fewer imports from adjacent pools and a lower Total Annual Load-Weighted Cost to Serve (M$ per year) across the region (New York, New England, PJM and Ontario),” said the EC report. “Generally speaking, both NOx and SO2 production (total tons per year) decrease across the region and within most pools, while Ontario shows a slight increase in both effluents in certain years (due to a slight increase in Ontario coal-fired generation, with the addition of Cricket Valley). Total CO2 production (total tons per year) across the region decreases as a result of Cricket Valley, but the total amount of CO2 produced in the NY Pool increases slightly (about 2% annually over the study period), due to the increase energy production (about 2% annually over the study periods) within the NY Pool.

A sensitivity analysis was also performed to consider the possible retirement of a nuclear generating unit in the region. In a somewhat prescient move, the EI database used for this study assumed that Indian Point Units 2 and 3 will receive an operating license extension beyond the current operating licenses, due to expire in September 2013 and December 2015, respectively. For purposes of this study, it did not seem unreasonable to assume a scenario where the operating license for Unit 2 may not be extended beyond September 2013, the study noted.

In general, the relative impact of adding Cricket Valley to the New York Pool with Indian Point Unit 2 retired in 2013 is consistent with the observed results assuming Indian Point Unit 2 remains in service beyond the expiration of its current operating license, the study said.

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.