US Power Generating looks to rehab shut Unit 40 at Astoria plant

In response to a New York Power Authority (NYPA) request for proposal (RFP) for alternatives in case the Indian Point nuclear plant has to be shut, US Power Generating is offering the Astoria Unit 40 Project.

A copy of that offer was filed on June 20 at the New York State Public Service Commission in the docket for the Indian Point shutdown case. A number of other power producers in the state have also offered projects within this RFP, most of them gas-fired.

Unit 40, shut since 2011, can be brought to market expeditiously and with low execution risk, the company proposal said. It can be operational by April 2015, well ahead of any contingency need. The project has low construction risk given substantial use of existing infrastructure, including the existing Astoria Station building and all related electric transmission and natural gas interconnections.

Additionally, the investment has no financing risk, with the full investment being made through cash on the balance sheet with no required equity or debt financing, said US Power Generating. “As such, the Project can be delivered to rate payers with a high degree of confidence in the event of an Indian Point retirement, and the corresponding reliability need, is realized in 2016,” the company added.

The Unit 40 restoration project will add 387 MW of natural gas-fired (with low-sulfur No. 6 fuel oil back-up) generation into Zone J NYC. The project will be physically located at the existing Astoria Generating Station site and will interconnect into both the Astoria East and West substations on the 138-kV system. The project will provide In-City (Zone J) capacity, dual-fuel and dual-yard generation capability, and ancillary services including Regulation, Black Start, Voltage Support, and Operating Reserves to maintain grid stability in this critical area. It is anticipated that the project, with a full load heat rate of about 9,800 BTU/kWh, will be dispatched regularly during peak load periods and during system disturbances and will displace less efficient generators during those times.

The Unit 40 project will be developed, owned and operated by US Power Generating, a private energy company based in Stamford Conn., through its Astoria Generating Co. (AGC) subsidiary. AGC currently owns and operates three generating facilities in New York, totaling over 1,700 MW of operational assets which provide energy, capacity and ancillary services into the electric markets administered by the New York Independent System Operator.

These facilities include the Astoria Station located in Queens as well as two generating stations located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – the Gowanus Generating Station and the Narrows Generating Station.

The Unit 40 project will be housed within the existing Astoria Station building, which is located in Astoria, Queens. The Astoria Station currently consists of two active dual-fueled (natural gas and low-sulfur No. 6 fuel oil) units (Units 30 and 50), and a small natural gas-fired simple-cycle combustion turbine (GT-1), providing a total capacity of about 777 MW. The Astoria Station also includes two currently inactive or “mothballed” units, Unit 20, a 183-MW gas-fired generator, as well as Unit 40. The new project will return the currently inactive Unit 40 to service.

The most substantial part of the project is repairing the reheat section of the boiler which was damaged when the unit experienced a pressure excursion in July 2011. The unit was then placed in “mothball” state pending repairs. In addition to the reheat section of the boiler, the project includes the installation of control system upgrades to better manage operations, modern burner management and fire suppression systems to increase reliability and safety and variable speed drives and intake screens to mitigate aquatic environmental impacts, the company noted.

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.