The last operating coal-fired power plant in New York state could close by mid-February, Power magazine reported.
Somerset Operating Co. on Nov. 15 asked the New York State Public Service Commission to waive the state’s 180-day notice requirement to shutter the 675-megawatt plant, asking regulators to allow the facility to close as early as Feb. 15, 2020, Kallanish Energy learns.
Somerset said it’s retiring the plant due to stricter state emissions regulations, and also said poor economics led to its decision.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state regulators earlier this year adopted rules to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, designed to end coal-fired power generation in the state by year-end 2020. The state also has set a goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2040.
Plant owner Riesling Power LLC has proposed building a $550 million data center on the 1,800-acre site of the Somerset plant, located on the Lake Ontario shore in Niagara County.
Riesling also wants to build a data center at the site of another coal plant it’s currently shuttering in Tompkins County, New York. The Cayuga plant began its closure process Oct. 31, after deactivation papers were filed with the state in June.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which operates the state’s power grid, is evaluating whether the power from Somerset is still needed to maintain grid reliability, though the group is expected to sign-off on the closure, Power reported.
Coal-fired generation has produced less than 1% of New York’s electricity each of the past two years, after producing about 10% of the state’s power a decade ago.
The plant, also known as the Kintigh Generating Station, was built by New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (NYSEG) and entered commercial operation in 1984. It was operated by AES Corp. until AES filed for bankruptcy, with the plant and the Cayuga plant sold to Upstate New York Power Producers in 2012.
The Upstate group sold both plants to Riesling Power in 2016.
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