Repowering: Another case for city plant

NRG Energy Inc.’s latest filing with the state Public Service Commission is ironic.

On the day of the public hearing – held at Fredonia State University – regarding the Dunkirk facility’s future, temperatures soared into the 90s. During the evening, in the air-conditioned Williams Center, National Grid’s team told some 2,000 members of the community that they do not need a repowered plant.

Last week’s revelations, however, reveal otherwise.

According to the PSC notice announced on Friday, NRG’s filing stated the mothballing of its 445 megawatts at Dunkirk resulted in “significantly changed power flows” and “significant constraints and congestion.” NRG contends this information is relevant to the determination of the benefits associated with the proposed repowering of the Dunkirk plant and should be included in the comparative assessment among the alternatives under consideration.

While our community has focused on the economic impact of the city plant – its the largest taxpayer and has some of the highest-paying jobs in the region – NRG has always contended the repowering of the plant from coal to natural gas is a reliability issue.

This latest filing is definitely about reliability. That could bode well for the region and NRG.