NRG to propose new power plants in response to New York request

April 17 Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:45pm EDT

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April 17 (Reuters) - NRG Energy Inc, one of the biggest power generators in the United States, could offer at least three plants in response to New York's request for proposals for units that could replace the giant Indian Point nuclear plant, NRG said Wednesday.

The New York Power Authority, the state-owned generating company, is seeking proposals for new generation in the New York City area that could partially offset the possible shutdown of Indian Point located about 40 miles (64 km) north of the city.

Lee Davis, NRG Senior Vice President and Regional President, East, said the company definitely would offer to build a highly efficient combined-cycle natural gas plant to replace older oil and gas fired units at its 580-megawatt (MW) Astoria plant in New York City.

The new Astoria plant would cost up to $1.5 billion and produce between 520 and 1,040 MW.

Davis was at the Astoria plant on Wednesday because the Governor of Tokyo, Naoki Inose, was visiting the site as Japan considers upgrading the nation's older fossil fired plants after most of its nuclear reactors were shut following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.

Davis also said NRG would likely offer to add a combined cycle gas unit at its existing 1,139-MW Bowline oil and gas facility on the Hudson River about five miles south of Indian Point.

The new 775-MW unit at Bowline would cost an estimated $1 billion.

And he said the company was also considering an offer to construct a new plant at the shuttered Lovett coal plant located on the Hudson River just a few miles south of Indian Point.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants the two reactors at Indian Point to shut when their operating licenses expire in 2013 and 2015 in part because the plant is located within the heavily populated New York metropolitan area, which is home to about 20 million people.

Concerns about nuclear safety, especially in densely populated metropolitan areas, have risen since Fukushima.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which regulates the country's nuclear power plants, however has said repeatedly that the 2,037-MW Indian Point is safe.

Entergy Corp, which owns the plant, is seeking new 20-year operating licenses from the NRC for Indian Point reactors, which supply about a quarter of the power used in the Big Apple.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is looking for about 1,350 MW of additional generation or transmission by June 2016 to partially replace the power from Indian Point in the event the state forces the nuclear plant to shut.

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