Petition signatures backing NRG project sent to Albany

The coalition “PowerUp Western New York” has sent more than 4,000 signatures to state Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Energy Highway Task Force in support of repowering the existing coal-fueled power plant in Dunkirk, New York.

The centerpiece of PowerUp Western New York, led by Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – Olean), is the Dunkirk combined-cycle development project, which can be completed by 2017, and will provide a number of benefits to the region and state, including:

Keeping energy investment in-state

Improving the reliability of the electrical grid in Western New York

Preserving jobs

Generating dramatically cleaner energy

Increasing electrical system efficiency

Ensuring a predictable and stable tax base in Chautauqua County and Dunkirk

Providing support for renewable energy generation such as wind power

“The huge number of signatures is a clear signal that the community is solidly behind this project,” said Young. “Repowering the Dunkirk plant represents a tremendous economic opportunity for Western New York that is consistent with the Governor’s energy goals and the blueprint recently issued by the Energy Highway Task Force. A cleaner, repowered Dunkirk plant would be a win all around.”

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell added, “The Dunkirk repowering project obviously has massive local and regional support, but the project also makes sense for delivering reliable, efficient, and environmentally clean electricity for New York that has statewide benefits.”

Dunkirk Mayor AJ Dolce said “The voters of Dunkirk and Western New York are behind this project in a way that is truly remarkable. This petition is just one indication of how important the Dunkirk plant is here, and we hope these many voices will resonate with our leaders in Albany.”

NRG Energy Inc., the owner of the Dunkirk plant, proposes to convert the existing coal facility to a combined-cycle plant with the generating capacity of up to 440 MW, enough to power approximately 352,000 average homes. NRG would build the combined-cycle units to ultimately take the place of the coal units, operate solely on clean natural gas and become operational by 2017.