NRG project gets a jolt

A decision last week by the state Public Service Commission regarding NRG Energy Inc. was some welcome and positive news for our beleaguered region.

On Thursday, the commission directed National Grid to work with NRG to evaluate repowering the plant, which is currently running at one-third of its capacity. In its ruling, the commission noted the closing of the Dunkirk facility and another plant in Cayuga County could “cause reliability concerns” for electricity.

At stake for the city and region is a potential $700 million private investment by NRG to upgrade the plant from being coal-fired to one that produces electricity using natural gas.

Think of the economic activity that could bring to this region. “We’re pleased to see the PSC directive and we believe that the Dunkirk repowering project offers a host of benefits to New York – in-state jobs, stability for the power grid, affordable electricity for ratepayers, and economic benefits that power plants like NRG’s Dunkirk station provide both locally and statewide,” said David Gaier, spokesman for NRG’s East Region.

Our economy took a big hit three weeks ago when 375 job layoffs were announced in Silver Creek and Dunkirk. A repowering project of the city facility would not fix those woes, but it would spur plenty of activity and outside dollars.