In comments filed Friday, the Manufacturers Alliance of New York submitted two separate filings, calling for the repowering of both the Dunkirk and the Cayuga power plants with natural gas generation.
Manufacturers Alliance President Randy Wolken stated, "On behalf of the statewide manufacturing community, I urge the PSC (Public Service Commission) to do what is best for our state's economic future and repower the Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants with natural gas generation. In order for the state's manufacturers to effectively operate their facilities, retain and grow the community-supporting and high-paying jobs they support, and generate the wealth of income and revenue that manufacturers bring back to our community and state through their products, it is critical our manufacturers are provided with a reliable, local and clean generation of power. Repowering both the Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants with natural gas generation will do just that."
In testimony submitted, the Alliance argued that manufacturers depend on competitively-priced electricity for their operations and, for too long, the state's electricity prices have been among the highest in the nation. Whether it is through regulatory fees, transmission costs, additional taxes or how the power is sourced and from where, electricity comes at a high cost for energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing, making it that much more difficult to remain competitive in today's global economy. Having local generation of electricity in a region ensures a level of reliability that would be eliminated, should the plants not be repowered.
The testimony also stated that if the plants were to shut down, power would then likely be wired in from Pennsylvania or Ohio. In Pennsylvania alone, they rely nearly five times as much as New York does on coal fired power plants. With the added demand from New York, more coal burning will be necessary, and more emissions will then be produced, impacting our environment. Rather, a more reliable, safer, cost effective and local solution would be repowering the facilities to produce natural gas.
Concluded Wolken, "Not only is this benefiting the New York state business community, but our economic stability at large will be supported and improved, based on job growth alone. Additionally, this solution also complies with the New York State Energy Highway blueprint, which states system reliability and clean generation of electricity as critical needs for our State's future energy demands. Whether you are talking commerce, jobs, economy, or the environment, repowering of these plants are a win-win for New York state."
The Manufacturers Alliance of New York State is the state's largest manufacturing association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector throughout the state. Manufacturing employs 462,000 New York residents, and our economic generation and multiplier effect remain undisputed. Started in 2005, the Alliance is comprised of seven regional trade associations, including the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York, the Chief Executive Network of the Capital Region, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association, the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance and the Long Island Forum for Technology. The Alliance proudly serves as the leading advocate for a pro-business policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and allows policy makers to create a better business climate for New York state.
Friday was the last day the PSC accepted comments regarding repowering NRG. NRG is proposing constructing a $500 million natural gas plant in Dunkirk, but first must get the PSC's approval.