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Questions raised about proposed Albany cogen plant

Oct 27, 2017 6:20 am

Marie J. French writes at Politico New York about the New York Power Authority and the Office of General Services' plan to build a natural gas cogeneration plant in downtown Albany. The plant is part of NYPA's proposal to create a microgrid to power and heat the Empire State Plaza complex. Two new 7.9 megawatt natural gas turbines would generate electricity to supply about 91 percent of the electric power and 70 percent of the steam needed for heating and cooling the complex. Area residents and environmental activists turned out Wed., Oct. 25, to voice opposition to the plan, citing concerns about the environmental justice impact of locating plant in the low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Sheridan Hollow and Arbor Hill. The same neighborhoods that were subjected to the significant pollution caused by a state-owned trash-burning plant that operated on Sheridan Avenue from 1981 until 1994. Comparing the impact of the proposed high efficiency plant to the old trash-burner, Merton Simpson, the area’s Albany County legislator, said, “You will poison us a little slower, a little less and a little more efficiently. We’re asking that you not poison us.” In response to the concerns, NYPA created a website to explain the project. It is also sending the lead engineer on the project, its top environmental justice official and others to meet with neighborhood associations and other groups. “If the New York Power Authority proceeds with this, it’s a terrible mistake. If the state of New York is serious about climate change, it has to stop investing in fossil fuels,” said Judith Enck, former EPA regional administrator said. Read the full story at Politico New York.