N.Y. Power Authority Announces First Power Production At New Clean Power Plant In Queens

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181          

July 1, 2011


NEW YORK—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced the first commercial power at a new natural gas-fueled generating facility in Astoria, Queens for providing additional supplies of clean, economical electricity in time for the peak summer demand season.  Using the latest technologies, the plant will also improve air quality by displacing electricity production from older, less efficient power plants, reducing carbon emissions.

The new plant, which is the first major generating facility to be placed in service in New York City in more than five years, officially began dispatching electricity for the benefit of NYPA’s New York City governmental customers at 12 a.m. Friday.  The commercial operation followed several weeks of testing.

Astoria Energy II LLC built the 550-megawatt (MW) facility to meet the requirements of a 20-year power supply contract with NYPA, which will purchase the generating output for its governmental customers.  The facilities and services of those customers include schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, and the subways and commuter trains.

In January 2010, the Power Authority ceased operations of an 885-MW generating unit at the Charles Poletti Power Project in Astoria, stemming from a 2002 agreement with public officials and environmental groups.  The new Astoria Energy plant will help offset the loss of the more-than three-decade-old Poletti unit for NYPA’s meeting the electricity demand of thousands of public facilities and services, from its own economical generation and power purchases. 

In addition to the City of New York, the Power Authority’s governmental customers include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Housing Authority, and the New York State Office of General Services.  The customers supported NYPA’s power purchase agreement with Astoria Energy, committing to cover the costs of the power in a separate contract with the Authority.  

The new plant uses a combined-cycle technology in which hot exhaust gas normally lost in the combustion process is captured by heat-recovery steam generators to produce additional
electricity.  That makes the new facility more efficient and cleaner than conventional single-cycle power plants, with its consuming approximately 30 percent less fuel per unit of electricity.    
(NYPA has two combined-cycle plants of its own, in Queens and on Long Island.)

More than 1,000 building trade workers, including electricians, boilermakers, pipefitters, iron workers, and carpenters, were engaged in the construction of the new plant at the peak level of activity.  The construction was completed in just over two years, beginning in early-2009.

The plant is at a 23-acre site at 17-10 Steinway St., where Astoria Energy placed into service another combined-cycle facility in May 2006 for providing power to Con Edison.

In addition to power supplies, the Power Authority meets the electricity requirements of its governmental customers in the five boroughs by partnering with them on energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives for lowering their electricity demand from the power grid.  Over the last two decades, NYPA has financed and spearheaded approximately $937 million in energy-saving improvements, for annual savings to those customers of nearly $85 million and reduction of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 521,000 tons a year.  The projects include such improvements as new fluorescent lighting; upgraded heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems; new electric motors; more efficient energy management systems; and solar power installations and fuel cells.     

The Power Authority also has a summer power demand reduction program in New York City in which the participating governmental customers cut back on their electricity use on the hottest days in return for payments by NYPA.  This helps to ensure the reliability of the electric power system on those peak-demand days when the margins between electricity supplies and power-use levels narrow the most.   

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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