Sterling completes buy of 53-MW ex-coal plant in New York

Sterling Energy Group, a green energy independent power producer, said Nov. 14 that it has completed the purchase of Niagara Generation LLC from US Renewables Group (USRG) of Santa Monica, Calif., for an undisclosed sum.

The Niagara Generation facility in New York began as a coal-fired power plant in the 1990s and in 2007, USRG converted the plant to burn wood and tire derived fuel. After a scheduled deferred maintenance outage, Sterling intends to predominantly fuel the plant with wood, augmented by a minor amount of coal for fluidized bed solids and flame stabilization.

“We’re delighted to have completed the purchase of Niagara Generation, LLC and to have preserved the jobs in New York, while supplying the area with green energy,” said William Harrington, President & CEO of Sterling Energy Group. “The State of New York and local officials have been very welcoming in our desire to make this a sustainable plant and will add a minimum of 20 jobs in Niagara Falls, NY. With job creation and green energy production as our core business, we intend to establish a support center in the Midwest to support all of our power generating facilities and oil and gas production.”

Sterling, a privately-held company, currently has its corporate office located in Gary, Ind., with operations in Morgantown, Ky.; Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Crawfordsville, Ind.

US Renewables Group is one of the largest private equity firms focused exclusively on investing in renewable power, biofuels and clean technology infrastructure.

This deal got a FERC approval in October

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 8 signed off on an Aug. 29 application from Niagara Generation LLC for approval of the sale of Niagara Generation and its 53-MW power plant to Sterling Energy Group.

Under the approved deal, USRG Finance Co. LLC woudl sell and Sterling Energy Group would purchase 100% of the ownership interests in Niagara Generation. Niagara Generation owns and operates an approximately 53-MW facility located in Niagara Falls, N.Y. It is interconnected with the transmission system controlled by New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). Niagara Generation is an exempt wholesale generator (EWG) and authorized to sell electric energy, capacity and ancillary services at market-based rates.

Niagara Generation, USRG Finance and Sterling had also filed a joint request with the New York State Public Service Commission on Sept. 3 for approval of this deal.

The facility was originally constructed as a coal-fired, fluidized bed cogen supplying both electricity and steam. Electricity from the facility was originally sold to Niagara Mohawk Power (NiMo) under a long-term power purchase agreement that was subsequently terminated as part of NiMo’s restructuring process. Thereafter, the facility operated as a merchant supplier of electric power in the wholesale markets administered by NYISO.

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.