New York has taken a strong stance on fossil fuels this week, effectively killing new fossil fuels in the state. The Department of Environmental Protection has banned two planned natural gas power plants that do not comply with state climate law, which calls for fossil fuels to be shut down by 2040.
Although the proposed plants are more efficient than those currently in use, the state agency said the plants would generate significant pollution and would be built within 20 years of the planned zero release date.
New York Climate Law requires polluters to have two sources of emissions — the plant itself and the natural gas supply chain. After the latter is included — figures that were previously ignored when deciding on power plant pollution — emissions quickly exceed the DC limit, the decisions say.
Danskamer Energy is proposing to add a new gas turbine to the 532 MW Newburgh Peaker plant, which will operate when there is a high demand, so that the plant can operate normally. NRG proposes to replace 50-year-old turbines at 647 MW High Plant in Astoria, Queens.
The two companies argued that the gas turbines would help stabilize the grid because of frequent intermittent solar and wind power and that the new turbines would displace old and dirty sources from the grid.
Both companies He said that by 2040, zero zero day will be converted from natural gas to hydrogen or renewable natural gas.
But the DAC did not find any of these arguments convincing. According to the agency, hydrogen is currently not used as a fuel for large-scale power plants, and although renewable natural gas is available in small quantities, it is not enough to be considered today. In a statement, it said: “In general, the applicant’s plan to meet the 2040 generation’s exemption from climate law is uncertain and speculative.”
The DAC also erred in using both companies’ logic to indicate that the new plants would be emitted on the grid. The problem, according to the agency, is that their model is based on a number of assumptions — in particular:Planned It reduces that Can Occurs on other Sources of GHG emissions in the state ”(emphasis on the original). In other words, since no company can control the actions of other pollutants, they cannot take estimated reductions elsewhere as their own.
“Denying projects like Astoria is simply a short-sighted and bad public policy,” Tom Atkins, vice president of development at NRG Energy, said in a statement. “NRG’s Astoria Replacement Project would rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and completely convert it into green hydrogen in the future.”
Although both companies have the option of appealing the decision, both companies have stated that they will not appeal the decision. Astoria is set to close in 2023 according to current emissions regulations.