Report calls for coal-powered plant in Tonawanda to close

An environmental group is calling for the closing of the Huntley Generating Station in Tonawanda, which is owned by NRG.

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said in a release an assessment published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis finds outdated and inefficient power plants cost too much to run.

“The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis report underscores that New York state cannot be wedded to the dirty ways of the past to power its economy and way of life. The report focused on the economic health of the Huntley Generating Station near Buffalo. It found that the price of power, the high cost of coal and consumers’ own efforts to become less wasteful will likely be the death knell of this plant,” Iwanowicz stated. “”As this report shows, we can no longer afford the price of dirty power, the impacts it has on our environment, or the destruction it has caused to our health. Retiring this plant is in the best interest of ratepayers and it will provide a great needed breath of fresh air for those living near the plant. As the community grapples with the next steps, we now have the opportunity to push for a smarter, cleaner and healthier way to generate and transmit power. The Western New York community can truly lead the way forward.”

NRG spokesman David Gaier was contacted by the OBSERVER but would not discuss the financial estimates contained in the report about the Huntley plant.

“I can’t confirm or support any numbers or conclusions,” he said. “We agree that coal-fired plants are under pressure at a time of all-time low natural gas prices. I can’t confirm or support any numbers or conclusions in that report, because NRG wasn’t asked to furnish any information and has not disclosed any specific financial information on the company’s Huntley plant.”

Sandy Buchanan is the executive director of the IEEFA, which began operation as an independent non-profit halfway through 2013. She said the group gets its support from a number of foundations, including Energy Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, Hewlett Foundation and the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation.

“Each of our research reports, like the report on Huntley, costs us about $30,000 to $50,000 to produce,” she stated.

According to its 990 filings, Environmental Advocates of New York received more than $1 million in donations in 2012. In the filing it says its mission is to “protect our state’s air, water, land, wildlife and the health of all New Yorkers.”