Repowering endorsement draws reaction

It depends on what you’re looking for, a workable solution to an area’s issues or a pie-in-the-sky approach.

While the decision of the state Public Service Commission on how to meet future electrical grid reliability needs has yet to be made, and the PSC will take comments from the public until Aug. 16, one person’s opinion has been met favorably by at least one of the parties involved.

The recent public endorsement of the NRG Dunkirk repowering option by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer was a hit with NRG.

“Obviously, we’re very pleased that Sen. Schumer has publicly stated his support for the project,” NRG spokesman David Gaier stated. “We, again, feel the Dunkirk repowering project is the right solution and it’s not only the right solution because it would preserve jobs, create economic benefits and support the local tax base, but it’s the right solution because it provides the reliability solution the PSC calls for.”

Gaier said NRG officials did not speak with Schumer but “we’re pleased he came to this conclusion.”

“We think it’s another example of how and why this project should go forward,” Gaier added.

Gaier and NRG were not the only ones to take notice of Schumer’s endorsement of the project. Seth Wimer is the campaign manager for Congressman Tom Reed and took note of what Schumer did not say during his endorsement. Wimer pointed out that Schumer failed to mention anything about what Martha Robertson, a possible Democrat candidate against Republican Reed for the state’s 23rd congressional district in 2014, called her “third way” proposal. That proposal called for using biomass as part of keeping the Dunkirk plant viable.

“Sen. Schumer recognizes the importance of repowering the NRG plant in Dunkirk. Schumer had nothing to say, though, about Martha Robertson’s “third way” proposal to refuel the plant with biomass, a proposal that has been thoroughly vetted by NRG and determined to be unviable,” Wimer said in a release. “Yet, in a statement (Wednesday), Robertson continues to push her discredited proposal. Even after it’s been made clear that Robertson’s idea won’t create or save jobs in Dunkirk, she continues to cater to her environmental-fringe base in Ithaca rather than standing with the people in Dunkirk and northern Chautauqua County who stand to lose so much if this project doesn’t go forward.”

To view comments and other information and filings on the PSC website, go to www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/B428BB2B680CD9B485257687006F3890?OpenDocument and enter 12-E-0577 in the search by case number box. On the webpage there are four areas to choose from: filed documents, public comments, party list and calendar.

Send comments to gsnyder@observertoday.com.