Greenidge Generation adding personnel ahead of plant unit restart

In response to a suggestion at a Nov. 9 procedural conference on its application to revive the long-shut Greenidge 4 coal unit as a gas-fired generator, Greenidge Generation LLC on Nov. 17 filed with the New York State Public Service Commission a supplement to its petition.

In this proceeding, Greenidge is seeking commission approvals required to resume operation of the 106.4-MW Unit 4 at the Greenidge Generating Station in the Town of Torrey, Yates County, New York.

“At the outset, Greenidge would note that the approvals it is seeking are strictly limited to operation as a wholesale merchant generator supplying energy, capacity and other generationrelated services into the bid-based markets operated by the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (‘NYISO’),” said the Nov. 17 filing. “As the Commission is well aware, those NYISO markets have been carefully structured to provide all market participants with powerful financial incentives to provide safe, adequate and reliable service, both by rewarding suppliers who meet their commitments to NYISO and by penalizing those that do not.

“Greenidge would also note that Greenidge Unit #4 is an existing unit employing proven technology with a long history of reliable operation. The changes to Greenidge Unit #4 required to permit it to achieve its full rated output on natural gas are relatively simple and well-tested in other facilities. As a member of the Atlas family of companies, Greenidge is affiliated with experienced operators of a wide variety of generating facilities and will rely on that experience in operating Greenidge Unit #4.

“Greenidge is in the process of assembling the team that will operate Unit #4 after startup. Greenidge’s Plant Manager, Mr. Dale Irwin, has worked at the Greenidge site since 2001. He worked for [former plant owner AES Corp.] in various capacities during the period from 2001 to 2012, including Company Outage Manager, Maintenance Coordinator, Asset Care Program Coordinator and Company Environmental Manager. Since January of 2013, Mr. Irwin has served as Facility Manager for the Greenidge Station. Prior to joining AES in 2001, Mr. Irwin served in the Army and received a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Keuka College.

“Greenidge has already hired a second staff member, who has over 40 years of experience in the natural gas and electric power industries. This individual has worked in various leadership positions in the utility field, including budgets, planning and engineering, right-of-way, materials acquisition, construction and remediation. He has substantial experience in power plant maintenance and operations with both [New York State Electric & Gas] and AES, as well as in private industry. In addition, Greenidge expects to hire two additional staff members on or about December 1, 2015, both of whom are former AES employees with a long history working at the Greenidge site under both the New York State Electric & Gas Company and AES. As the time for start-up of Unit #4 approaches, Greenidge expects to hire additional employees, most of whom are also expected to be former AES employees with substantial experience at the Greenidge site.”

In other developments for this project:

  • Greenidge Generation on Oct. 6 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant it authorization to make wholesale sales of electric capacity, energy and ancillary services at market-based rates. Atlas Holdings LLC bought the plant n February 2014. “Greenidge is in the process of securing the permits and approvals necessary to resume operation of the Plant,” the application noted, “including a new interconnection agreement under the Open Access Transmission Tariff of the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (‘NYISO’). Greenidge expects to have the Plant online as an energy resource by the end of 2015.”
  • An affliate, Greenidge Pipeline LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary, Greenidge Pipeline Properties Corp., are jointly developing an intrastate natural gas pipeline to deliver natural gas to the plant. These companies filed on Sept. 24 with the New York commission for approvals on the natural gas pipeline project. The planned pipeline will be eight inches in diameter with a maximum allowed operating pressure (MAOP) of 1,440 pounds per square inch and will extend approximately 4.5 miles from an interconnection with the Empire Connector interstate natural gas pipeline in the Town of Milo, Yates County, to the Greenidge Station.
  • Greenidge Generation on Sept. 10 applied at the New York PSC for an Original Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity so it can re-start Greenidge Unit 4. Greenidge requested expedited action in order to permit the facility to be fully operational upon the issuance of the air permits, or as soon as possible thereafter.
  • The New York Department of Environmental Conservation was out for public comment this fall on an air permit change for Unit 4. Said an Aug. 12 notice: “Greenidge Generation LLC has applied for a Title V Facility Permit and Title IV (Acid Rain) Facility Permit, for resumption of electric generating operations its Greenidge Generating Station in the Town of Torrey. Greenidge Station was in operation as early as the 1930’s, with Unit 4 installed in 1953 for a total generation capacity of 161 MW. In 2006 significant improvements to emission control equipment were installed on Unit 4 and in 2011 the plant was placed in protective lay-up status by its prior owner and has not operated since March, 2011. The proposal would reactivate Unit 4 with a generating capacity of 107 MW. The unit would not burn coal, but instead be fired with biomass, natural gas, and minimal amounts of waste oil, all of which were previously authorized in the facility’s prior Title V permit. The sponsor will also fully convert the facility to use natural-gas as the primary fuel.”
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.