Company officials confirm they will no longer pursue reopening the plant
DUNKIRK – The Jamestown Post-Journal is reporting that NRG officially announced Wednesday it has withdrawn its Dunkirk application from the New York Independent System Operator interconnection process. As a result the company’s plan to repower the Dunkirk power plant from coal to natural gas – which has been more than five years in the making – is no more.
NRG says it was informed by the state System Operator that the cost to re-interconnect the plant would cost in excess of $100 million. An NRG spokesman had said that originally no interconnection costs were forecast.
The State System Operator, however, is reported to say that NRG’s decision to keep the facility out of service longer than originally stated meant the original interconnection rights had expired. Part of the delay was due to a lawsuit NRG had to deal with back in 2015 that challenged the legality of the repowering effort.
The plan was to convert the 530 megawatt coal burning facility to 450 megawatt gas burning facility and it appeared to be on track to take place earlier this year until the interconnection cost became an issue.
“NRG has stuck a dagger in the heart of our community,” State Sen. Cathy Young (R-Olean) said in a statment. “Our people have consistently rallied on behalf of the company since they mothballed the plant in 2013, standing by them through thick and thin. We have fought long and hard, put in place state incentives, and had a commitment to repower. The eventual loss of tax revenue will be devastating to the city, school district and county.”
When in operation, the power plant employed over 100 people, with 50 more jobs projected once the full conversion took place.
The facility is also the county’s largest property tax payer and was paying a significant portion of property taxes to both the city of Dunkirk and the Dunkirk School District.
“Because we were successful in establishing a $45 million state mitigation fund to help offset revenue losses, there will not be an immediate impact to local services and programs, which should be reassuring to local taxpayers,” Young said. “Additionally, as a member of the Financial Restructuring Review Board (FRB), I am working on other funding solutions aimed at helping Dunkirk taxpayers.”
Local and state officials say they plan to soon meet to discuss the future of the site.