Greenidge will restart with gas
DRESDEN--Greenidge Generation, LLC announced last week they will be restarting their power plant without the use of coal. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has published for public comment a draft Title V permit. This permit approves the facility's application to restart the facility by firing biomass and natural gas. The facility will subsequently convert its generating operations to natural gas as the primary fuel. Greenidge previously was authorized to operate on biomass and natural gas under its prior Title V permit, and will be restored to full operation from its temporary protective layup status.
The DEC has accepted Greenidge's proposal to include in the Title V Permit enforceable language that permanently eliminates the ability of the facility ever to run on coal.
The draft permit allows Greenidge to run on biomass and natural gas in an effort to be more environmentally-sound. The restart of the facility, which recently underwent significant emissions-control upgrades, has received widespread support from federal, state and local elected officials, as well as civic and business leaders.
"This project is a 'win-win' for both the environment and for upstate New York taxpayers as Greenidge is truly a model for the type of facility that should be in full operation today," said Dale Irwin, general manager of Greenidge. "Greenidge is an environmentally-sound power source that will bring new jobs, generate robust economic activity, restore tax revenues, and produce much-needed electricity, all while running far-cleaner than many of the other facilities in the region."
Earlier, the state Department of Environmental Conservation published in its Environmental Bulletin a Draft Title V air permit which could allow the plant to come back onto the market as early as this fall, pending completion of a public comment period and subsequent review by federal officials. Unlike other power plants in the region, Greenidge is not asking the New York Department of Public Service for assistance with a Reliability Support Agreement.
"We are very pleased that, after a thorough and complete review of our application, the Department of Environmental Conservation has found that Greenidge clearly meets all the federal and state standards for resuming full operation," Irwin added. "We're excited to discuss the many benefits of this project with the public in the coming days."
Greenidge will also be making several investments to protect fish in Seneca Lake, fully complying with state SPDES Permit requirements. In addition, the company will explore opportunities to add solar power on the 300-acre property while partnering with local economic development officials to maximize the job creation potential of the site.
Prior to its bankruptcy in 2012, Greenidge was upgraded to include over $45 million in new, state of the art emissions controls and environmental retrofits. Importantly, these upgrades include those funded via a $14 million federal grant from the U.S Department of Energy. Restoring the plant to full operation from its protective layup status ensures these taxpayer funds will not be wasted.
"Greenidge Generation has done everything possible to restart a facility that will boost the local economy, help meet power demands and protect the environment--all while reducing America's reliance on Middle Eastern Crude Oil. I'm pleased to see the state clear the way for a restart before the end of the year," said U.S. Representative Tom Reed.
"The steps being taken by Greenidge and the state of New York will make a substantial positive impact on Yates County, which has long welcomed this plant as part of our community," said Chairman Timothy Dennis, head of the Yates County Legislature. "We look forward to working in partnership with the local community to bring the plant back online and all the jobs and revenue that means."
The village of Dresden, the town of Torrey and the Yates County Legislature have all endorsed plans to restore the plant to full power from its protective layup, while other local elected officials and area business leaders, including local wineries, have also welcomed its return.
"This plant has long been a good neighbor and a source of good jobs for our people," said Leigh MacKerchar, mayor of Penn Yan. "The sooner we can get it back to full power, the better for taxpayers, for area businesses and for our community. We appreciate the DEC moving forward with this project. The DEC and the state of New York deserve a lot of credit for advancing this important revitalization project."
"I applaud New York State and the DEC for moving reactivation of Greenidge forward," said Patrick Flynn, supervisor of the town of Torrey. "Reactivation enjoys broad local support and we look forward to resuming a partnership that will result in clean energy, more jobs and increased tax revenues for our school districts and other vital public services."
"Greenidge will be among the cleanest and greenest power plants of its kind in New York," said Bill Hall, mayor of the village of Dresden. "This facility and its owners have demonstrated they are ready to be an active part of the Dresden community and we welcome them back to full operation. Supporting clean energy, more jobs and more tax revenue is a no-brainer for our residents."
John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Winery, said, "The owners of Greenidge are a proven environmental and economic growth partner for New York State--just look at what they did in Glens Falls--saving over 600 jobs at Finch Paper and providing 160,000 acres to The Nature Conservancy. They are committed to creating jobs and restoring tax revenue, thereby increasing local economic activity, a huge boon to our community."
"This plant has been part of the landscape here for a generation and it's never been anything but a positive for the community," said Scott Osborn, president of Fox Run Vineyards. "We want it back because we need more clean power generation, first and foremost, and because it will provide needed revenue for local governments and schools. Plus, the prospect of potentially exploring solar projects at the site really makes this a great project for the community. I have met with Dale and the owners and they are exactly the kind of partners we need here in Yates County."
Skip Jensen, regional field advisor for the New York State Farm Bureau, said, "The Yates County Farm Bureau voted unanimously to support bringing this plant back to full power because we need the jobs, the tax revenue and the clean energy it will generate. This plant has been part of our community for generations and has always been a welcome part of Yates County. We appreciate DEC moving forward with this sensible plan, which can only help the Finger Lakes economy."
"The site can serve as an engine for other business growth and we're working very closely with the Greenidge team, as well as state and local officials, to create a job hub that will help current economic development efforts and expand on Yates County's recent and numerous successes," said Steve Griffin, CEO of Finger Lakes Economic Development Center. "They are not just making a multi-million investment in our community; they have given us an open door to create even more jobs. That is a true partnership, and we welcome it."
"This really is the most exciting news I've seen in the 14 years I have been working here," said Irwin. "We've been a key part of this community for a long time, and we're here to stay."