(1:50 PM) Young Confirms NRG Has Pulled Out Of Repowering Project

P-J file photo

DUNKIRK — State Sen. Cathy Young expressed her “profound disappointment” Wednesday that NRG has prematurely pulled out of the Dunkirk repowering project, just when information regarding interconnect fee costs was becoming clearer.

“NRG has stuck a dagger in the heart of our community,” said Young, R-Olean. “Our people have consistently rallied on behalf of the company since they mothballed the plant in 2013, standing by them through thick and thin. We have fought long and hard, put in place state incentives, and had a commitment to repower. The eventual loss of tax revenue will be devastating to the city, school district and county.”

“Yet, because we were successful in establishing a $45 million state mitigation fund to help offset revenue losses, there will not be an immediate impact to local services and programs, which should be reassuring to local taxpayers. Additionally, as a member of the Financial Restructuring Review Board (FRB), I am working on other funding solutions aimed at helping Dunkirk taxpayers.”

“By making this decision at this juncture, it is apparent that NRG has been disingenuous about their intentions. They bailed out before they had all of the information. They have a lot of excuses, but those ring hollow and the onus rests squarely on them. They are blaming the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), but they always have known full well the process that is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the NYISO,” she said.

“NRG lost their interconnection rights because they failed to renew them, consciously letting them expire, and that’s why they would have to go through the interconnection process at this point. They knew the consequences of not taking action. NRG is saying that the interconnect fee will exceed $100 million, when they know that is the worst case scenario. If they had waited just a couple of days, they would have had more information. It is a fact that interconnect costs decline significantly as other developers drop out of the process. Instead of waiting to see which projects were left and trying to work with us, NRG decided to turn their backs on the community and the state,” Senator Young said.

“The exit of NRG leaves Western New York without an operating base load power plant, which does not bode well for our economic future, especially in manufacturing. The huge spikes in power costs during our most recent heat wave shows that not having in-state power generation has a terribly negative impact on consumers,” she said.

“I will fight to find a solution. Either another power generator should take over the plant, or the site should be redeveloped into a resource that supports our tax base and grows jobs. I will be working to explore every option in the coming days,” Senator Young said. I am confident that we can overcome this setback. With the construction of the new Athenex plant on the horizon, it is clear that Dunkirk is a community on the rise. I look forward to working with state and local officials and the dedicated members of our community to sustain our forward momentum.”