The Business Associations of Tompkins and Chautauqua County have announced a joint statement supporting the repowering of facilities in their county.
"We applaud the leadership that Governor Cuomo has taken in terms of establishing a vision to rebuild and rejuvenate New York State's electric power system and enable the state to meet the needs of a 21st century economy and society. We believe it is absolutely critical to the viability of businesses across New York State that we maintain the ability to generate electrical power and identify efficient ways to transmit that power. The repowering of both the Dunkirk and Lansing facilities are key components to achieving energy sufficiency, energy reliability and energy cost competitiveness.
"The closing of production facilities like Dunkirk and Lansing will position New York as an energy importer at the mercy of energy production outside the State. New York will be importing power from States such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. These are States that burn coal, which costs more per megawatt than natural gas power production. In addition, there is clearly going to be a continued and concerted effort by the EPA to shut down coal facilities. Less production, increasing power demand leads to dramatic cost increases for ratepayers.
"Industry estimates suggest that 34 gigawatts of power will go off-line in response to EPA rulings and most of these facilities are located in the Northeast. These closings began last year and continue. Less production, increasing demand leads to higher ratepayer costs and this is bad for New York businesses. Repowering the Dunkirk and Lansing facilities will help maintain reliability and cost certainty for New York rate payers.
"At the local level repowering of the Dunkirk and Lansing power facilities creates construction jobs, preserves local jobs at the sites in the long term and improves the air quality in our communities by significantly reducing all major emissions. The power facilities significantly support our local tax base and with that the services provided by our municipalities and the preservation of high quality education for our children.
"The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and our businesses strongly support the repowering projects in our communities. These private investments are a pathway to energy reliability, energy independence and are investments in what can ultimately develop into a New York export industry."
Both communities have proposals for natural gas plants to replace coal burning plants. In order for the natural gas plants to be constructed, approval from the Public Service Commission is required.