Nominee Wants Analysis Of NRG Facility

Repowering the NRG plant in Dunkirk has seen its ups and downs since 2012. But it appears now that the refiring from coal to natural gas isn’t going to happen. P-J file photo

Tracy Mitrano, the Democratic opponent to incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Reed in the 23rd Congressional District, is not certain on how to proceed with the future of the Dunkirk power-generation station.

“I know that there have been various efforts,” she said about the site along the waterfront. “I would go for a much more vigorous approach to analyzing what could, should be done with that facility.”

NRG Energy Inc., which owns the site, decided in early July against repowering the plant from coal to natural gas. Because of that decision, no one is quite sure what the future holds.

Reed, who spoke with the Observer newspaper earlier this month, is open to having another operator come into the site.

While Mitrano did not touch on that, she did mention the need for alternatives. “Renewable energy is very popular in this district, even Mr. Reed has called for them,” she said. “I think we have not explored that possibility enough.”

NRG, which was the county’s largest taxpayer, continues to be part of a payment in lieu of taxes agreement through the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

Since it is not producing power at the site, its payment to the Dunkirk schools, city and county governments have been cut from a combined $8 million in 2016 to about $420,000 this year.