We’re out with a report this morning which finds that a proposal to repower the Cayuga coal-fired electricity power plant as a natural-gas-fired plant is economically unviable and would create a long-term drain on ratepayers.
Cayuga Operating Company, a subsidiary of Upstate New York Power Producers, owns the 60-year-old plant, which is just north of Ithaca in Lansing, N.Y. The company is seeking approval from the New York Public Service Commission for its plan to repower the plant under a 10-year ratepayer-subsidized scheme that would begin in 2017.
Our report, “A Losing Proposition: Why the Proposal to Repower the Cayuga Plant Should be Rejected,” includes three core findings:
The Cayuga repowering proposal is part of a larger pattern of public subsidies for failing coal-fired power plants. They are costing taxpayers a lot more than is necessary. With the increased affordability of renewable energy and an option for transmission system upgrades, there are other, stronger alternatives to bailing out old, uneconomical coal plants like Cayuga.
Our report notes that the plant’s closure would create a fiscal challenge for the Lansing school district, Tompkins County, the Town of Lansing and two service districts amounting to an annual loss of $1.8 million.
But the state has investment mechanisms and resources in place already to fill the void. And while the costs involved with these changes can be borne by local governments, that approach would be unnecessarily narrow and burdensome.
Our report shows that ample state resources exist to help the community and workers weather the transition, and points out that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has both the financial and energy planning resources to spearhead redevelopment.
David Schlissel is IEEFA’s director of resource planning.