State Sen. Catharine Young (R-Olean) said that the proposed repowering of NRG from coal to natural gas "can be our salvation."
"I have been working closely with NRG and state officials to come up with short term and long term solutions. NRG's proposal to build a new natural gas plant is the cornerstone of my legislation that recently was passed in the state Senate," she said.
"My bill aims to establish a three-year purchase power agreement between the New York Power Authority and the NRG coal plants in Western New York. The electricity generated would supplement ReCharge NY, giving energy allocations to eligible businesses to retain and create jobs. It is the short-term fix that would keep the plant operating. The high-paying jobs, and payment-in-lieu-of-taxes revenues to the city, school and county would be preserved," she said.
State Sen. Catharine Young
"The legislation also requires the plants to repower using clean energy by 2017, which is the long-term answer. Converting the Dunkirk and Huntley plants from coal to natural gas would help secure our future in Western New York. The possibility of building a new plant, and the economic prosperity it would bring, actually strengthens our case to keep NRG in business," she said.
"The other long term goal is to construct the transmission lines to get power produced upstate to the market downstate. The congestion points on the electricity grid impede power distribution, which threatens our generators like NRG. The market for the energy exists. It's just hard to get there," she said.
"Governor Cuomo's Energy Highway Initiative would straighten out these issues and help kick the upstate economy into high gear. The NRG proposal ties in perfectly with the Governor's goals," she said.
She lauded the support from the community and local government officials, and the efforts of Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
"Everyone understands the devastating impact of losing NRG. We are going to continue working as a team," she said.
"The results of the reliability study that was triggered by the mothball notice are not public yet, but I am hopeful that at least three NRG generation units will be needed. The Senate also is continuing discussions with the Governor's office so we can get positive results for the community, economy and the environment," she said.