Builder of new Ashokan hydropower station agrees to find new water source
William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman the company looking to build an underground hydroelectric power station near the Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County, will look for a new location to build a supplemental reservoir to power the operation, state Sen. Michelle Hinchey said April 8. Hinchey was among 50 elected officials and environmental advocates who gathered at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge to voice opposition to the 2,800-megawatt power station proposed by Premium Energy Holdings of Walnut, Calif. Hinchey said Premium's president, Victor Rojas, “has promised that, because of our opposition, the three current proposals [for off-site reservoirs] will be rescinded, and a new alternative will be presented" as part of the company's application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. However, those gathered Thursday would prefer the entire project be scrapped. “That’s what we’re demonstrating here today,” Hinchey said. Premium wants to create power station 200 to 300 feet below ground on one of three sites — two near state Route 28, and one on the north side of the Ashokan's west basin. Of the electricity to be generated, 800 watts would be sent into the grid via the Central Hudson Gas and Electric substation on Hurley Avenue in the town of Ulster during 12-hour periods when demand is high. The remainder would be used to keep the power station itself functioning. The station would be powered by water from the Ashokan that first would be sent to the planned new reservoir. Premium originally was considering sites in West Shokan, Woodland Valley, and Lanesville in Greene County, to create the new reservoir. There was no immediate word Thursday about a new location for the reservoir, and representatives for Premium Energy could not be reached for comment. Ashokan Reservoir is operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. If the city does not agree to allow the power station, Premium could seek to have the project designated as necessary by the New York Independent System Operators and then have it approved by the state Public Service Commission through eminent-domain proceedings. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.