AG-Energy pursues restart of New York power plant shut since 2007

AG-Energy LP, which owns the Ogdensburg Energy Facility located in Ogdensburg, New York, applied Jan. 20 at the New York State Public Service Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and a continued lightened regulatory regime related to a plan to restart this facility.

The facility initially began commercial operation in 1994 as a 79-MW cogeneration facility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, with the electric output sold to Niagara Mohawk and the steam plant providing steam to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. Niagara Mohawk’s obligation to purchase the facility’s electric output ended in 1998. Thereafter, AG-Energy sold electric energy and capacity pursuant to long-term power purchase agreements and then as an installed capacity supplier in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) organized market.

The facility consisted of two gas turbine units – a General Electric LM6000 and a GE LM2500 – plus a steam turbine generating unit and two auxiliary boilers. The facility is equipped with water injection selective catalytic reduction (SCR). In 2002, the commission granted the facility a CPCN to sell thermal energy and entered an order providing for lightened regulation as an electric corporation and lightened and incidental regulation as a steam corporation.

In 2007, AG-Energy removed the LM6000 and LM2500 gas turbines from service, leaving in place an approximate 26-MW capacity steam turbine and the auxiliary boiler facilities with which AG-Energy continues to supply steam to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center as a lightly regulated steam corporation. The steam turbine has been in a protective lay-up since 2010.

Over the years, AG-Energy has continued to pursue alternatives to restart the facility. “AG-Energy has determined that market conditions warrant reinstalling the combustion turbines and is seeking to restart electric generation operation as soon as possible,” said the Jan. 20 application. “AG-Energy has continued to be the subject of lightened regulation order as an electric corporation but the electric plant is not certified. Accordingly, AG-Energy respectfully requests that the Commission grant it a CPCN pursuant to Article 68 of the Public Service Law and provide for continued lightened regulatory regime, consistent with Commission precedent.”

AG-Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alliance Energy New York LLC (ANEY), which in turn is owned by Alliance Energy Group LLC (AEG). AENY owns, directly and indirectly, one hundred percent of the ownership interest in five New York electric generation facilities. An AENY affiliate, Alliance NYGT LLC, owns and operates two electric generation facilities: Hillburn Gas Turbine, a 46.5 (nameplate) MW facility in Hillburn, and Shoemaker Gas Turbine, a 41.9 (nameplate) MW facility in Middletown.

The Ogdensburg facility is supplied with natural gas by a 12.5-mile, eight-inch diameter high pressure gas line built by St. Lawrence Gas Co. Inc. to service the facility. The facility will continue to maintain oil-firing capability. It is interconnected to the North Ogdensburg Substation via a one-mile radial line, which is connected to a 3 ring bus breaker. The facility continues to receive station service power through the existing interconnect by back feeding through the main 13.8-kV to 115-kV step up transformer.

The facility will have the same steam turbine generating unit and the same LM6000 and LM2500 gas turbine generating unit types as before the unit retirements, resulting in the same generating capacity as before the combustion gas turbines ceased commercial operation in 2007. AG-Energy has maintained the equipment on-site that is not currently being used in producing steam in a protective lay-up status. The facility has maintained all applicable permits and registrations required to operate the electric plant and all facility permit fees and taxes are current.

The turbines will be reinstalled in the same locations as before with the same connections to the existing SCR and controls. Major overhauls of aero-derivative units such as LM6000s are necessarily conducted offsite at a depot facility. Accordingly, the cost of reinstalling such units are commonly incurred costs in the industry. AG-Energy said it anticipates that the cost and time required for reinstalling LM6000 and LM2500 turbines will be consistent with reinstallation after such turbines have been temporarily removed for service. It estimates a total cost on the order of $5 million to $8 million that will be financed internally.

As in the past, this will be a merchant facility supplying the competitive wholesale markets operated by NYISO. The rates AG-Energy charges for energy, capacity, and other related services will be set by competition in the NYISO-administered wholesale markets.

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.