Firm Hopes to Build Newburgh Power Plant

CEO explains project to Beacon City Council

By Jeff Simms

The owners of a seldom-used Newburgh power plant are awaiting approval to build a new facility that they say will produce more and cleaner energy. Environmental groups don’t agree.

Danskammer Energy asked the state Public Service Commission last year for permission to build a fast-starting, air-cooled facility to replace its nearly 70-year-old natural gas-powered plant. If it’s approved, company officials say the facility will provide energy for about 500,000 homes and businesses and complement the state’s increased usage of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydropower.

The Danskammer electric power plant in Newburgh (Photo by Tom Konrad)

The facility would still use natural gas but would significantly cut its emissions, Danskammer CEO Bill Reid told the Beacon City Council on April 1. The company expects to be asked to generate more power once the Indian Point nuclear plant closes in 2021, he added.

“We have a very, very old car that we’re running up and down the highway,” Reid said. “Our goal is to put in a much more efficient facility that uses a lot less natural gas and to help the state get to a more renewable grid.”

Last month Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper and other environmental groups told the state they opposed the changes at Danskammer, which they argued runs counter to the New York’s plans for increased renewable energy usage, will harm air quality and strain regional water supplies. Scenic Hudson hosted a forum in Wappingers Falls on April 8 to rally residents against the proposal.

New York State Assembly Member Jonathan Jacobson, whose district includes Beacon, said this week that he had no comment on Danskammer’s proposal. But a Highlands resident, Tara Vamos, urged the City Council during the April 1 meeting to push back against the expansion, saying that burning natural gas “will cause pollution here and will cause pollution that affects climate change globally.”

2 Responses to "Firm Hopes to Build Newburgh Power Plant"

  1. Santosh Nandabalan   April 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo should see through the Danskammer developer’s deceptive claims that New York needs a new fracked gas power plant in Newburgh.

    The city of Beacon, an environmental justice community that has waterfronts vulnerable to sea-level rise, also should not be fooled. If the proposed expansion is accepted, more fracked gas will be burned, the community’s air and water will be polluted, and the local area will be locked into more fossil fuel use for at least another 30 years.

    The city of Beacon, local elected officials and Cuomo must see Danskammer for the scam that it is and work to stop this fracked-gas power plant.

    Nandabalan is the New York organizer for Food & Water Watch.

  2. Joe Zukowski   April 26, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    And what is an alternative? Cutting down 30-40 acres of forest in order to install “solar power”? How does that help the environment? Remove the sources of oxygen and replace with hot black panels that will generate enough heat to kill or harm anything that lands on it? Or how about some of those beautiful wind farms with their incessant low hums and high temperatures that they generate? Will that save the ocean and human kind?

    Environmental Justice Community, where? Building everywhere, and no outcry. Draw your line and stand there. Somebody will get paid and it won’t matter.