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 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.”