Sterling Energy to buy Niagara Generation plant in New York

Niagara Generation LLC filed Aug. 29 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization for a transaction under which USRG Finance Co. LLC agrees to sell, and Sterling Energy Group agrees to purchase, 100% of the ownership interests in Niagara Generation.

As a result of the transaction, Niagara Generation will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sterling. The company asked the commission to issue an order granting the requested authorizations by Oct. 8 in order to allow the applicant to restart and return its facility to operation as soon as possible.

Niagara Generation’s electric generating facility is located in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) balancing authority area. Niagara Generation owns and operates an approximately 53-MW facility that utilizes a single Pyropower circulating fluidized-bed boiler that can burn bituminous coal, petroleum coke, biomass and tire-derived fuel (called the “Niagara Generation Facility”), located in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Niagara Generation is authorized to sell electric energy, capacity and ancillary services at market-based rates and exclusively at wholesale. Niagara Generation is also an exempt wholesale generator (EWG).

Sterling, an Indiana corporation privately owned by its shareholders, is an energy company with operations in power generation and oil and gas production and transmission. Sterling is held by a group of individual private investors and entities, most of whom hold less than a 5% ownership interest. The only individuals and entities that hold a 10% or greater ownership interest in Sterling are William Harrington, who holds approximately 47.5% and Fred Solomon, who holds about 31.6%.

Crawfordsville Energy is a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of Sterling. Crawfordsville Energy holds a purchase contract with the city of Crawfordsville, Ind., for the acquisition of a 25-MW power plant currently owned and operated by Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power. Crawfordsville Energy expects to close on this transaction by Dec. 31, 2013. Crawfordsville Energy has self-certified as an EWG.

In addition to FERC approval, the company is seeking a declaratory ruling from the New York State Public Service Commission that it is an “Alternate Energy Production Facility” exempt from regulation under the New York Public Service Law. The compay is also seeking an alternative PSC approval of the transaction under Section 70 of the PSL (this alternative request for approval will be moot, if and to the extent the declaratory ruling is granted). The company has indicated recent plans to the PSC to mothball the facilty, which was converted to burning biomass.

The contact for Sterling is William Harrington, President & CEO Sterling Energy, (219) 886-0661, Bharrington_1@msn.com.

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.