Having worked in power plants for nearly 40 years, my opinion on the $150 million upgrade option for the Dunkirk plant seems too cost simple.
If a 50-man construction crew is legitimate, what will occur and what modifications can be done for the conversion to natural gas? In the current thinking, there are no guarantees that this money will show long-term operations of this facility. If the gas is simply directed to burners in the old boilers and the old turbines are used for electricity generation, the plant will not be producing electricity efficiently. If the future is to last, the units must utilize gas turbines and put the exhaust into a boiler to make steam for a separate turbine in a process called a Co-gen.
The waste of the gas only pushing steam into an older unit will not be cost efficient for the long term and in a few years Dunkirk will be looking at this same closure again. There are many reasons to keep this unit viable, but the best re-use of this property requires the dismantling of the older coal features and the installation of modern features that will insure the long term viability of multi-million investments.
The current option outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will only bring more costly electric production for a lot of money and this facility will be idled again in a relatively short period of time. When that time comes the only option will be to sit unused - unsightly and not generating income for our local workers and governments. Hoping for the less expensive fix is going to be wrong in the long run.
ERNEST WEBB, Dunkirk