Dec 20 U.S. power company NRG Energy Inc
said Friday it is working with National Grid Plc to
finalize a contract to convert NRG's Dunkirk coal plant in
Upstate New York into a 445-megawatt natural gas-fired facility.
There are four units at the Dunkirk plant - the 75-MW Units
1 and 2 and the 185-MW Units 3 and 4.
NRG spokesman Dave Gaier said Units 1, 3 and 4 are currently
mothballed and Unit 2 is running on coal under contract until
Under the deal announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
earlier in the week, NRG will build a gas pipeline to Dunkirk
and convert Units 2-4 to run on natural gas by the autumn of
2015. Unit 1 will remain mothballed, Gaier said.
The contract NRG and National Grid are working on is a
10-year reliability and congestion management deal worth about
$150 million, according to the governor's release.
A unit of National Grid distributes power to about 1.5
million customers in Upstate New York.
Gaier said in addition to the deal with National Grid, NRG
will be able to sell the power and capacity from the plant in
the wholesale electric market.
He could not say what it will cost NRG to convert the plant
from coal to gas. Local papers however estimated NRG's total
investment at about $300 million, including the conversion,
pipeline, fuel, taxes, maintenance and other operating costs.
In the future, NRG may decide to build a new combined-cycle
gas-fired power plant at the Dunkirk site.
The conversion from coal to gas of the existing facility
will create about 50 construction jobs, preserve permanent jobs
and restore tax payments to local governments to their previous
level of about $8 million annually, the governor said in his
NRG is the largest taxpayer in Chautauqua County, New York
State Senator Catharine Young said in the governor's statement.
The state Public Service Commission (PSC) must approve the
On Thursday, a group of ratepayers opposed to the conversion
due in part to its cost filed a lawsuit against the PSC in state
court demanding access to documents related to the deal.
Gaier said he could not comment on the lawsuit since it was
directed at the PSC. Officials at the PSC were not immediately
available for comment.