Application to Repower Danskammer Remains Deficient
By CHRIS BELLOVARY, RiverKeeper Staff Attorney

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Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper Joint Statement Siting Board AGAIN Rules Danskammer Application AGAIN Deficient by CLIFF WEATHERS statement herein.

A view of the Danskammer Generation Station in Newburgh, NY as seen from a train on the other side of the Hudson River.

A view of the Danskammer Generating Station in Newburgh, NY as seen from a train travelling on the other side of the Hudson River.OSSINING, NY — September 12, 2020 — Danskammer, LLC proposes replacing its existing natural gas peaker plant, located in the town of Newburgh, with a new baseload natural gas power plant that would run all the time. Danskammer claims that their new plant would be more environmentally friendly than the existing plant, but it threatens water and air quality — especially in surrounding environmental justice communities like Newburgh — and recent economic development predicated on local environmental improvements, and will fail to comply with New York’s new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, thereby exacerbating the climate crisis.

Within the ongoing permitting process and in response to a deficiency notice, in July, Danskammer submitted a Supplemental Greenhouse Gas Analysis to the New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which included the claim that its proposal would satisfy the CLCPA, because sometime before 2040, the facility could be modified to operate on hydrogen and renewable natural gas, also referred to as fossil gas alternatives. The document lacked any discussion on the specific modifications, costs, timeline, or how long the facility would be offline to implement the conversion. More importantly, there was no commitment that the facility would, indeed, actually implement a costly conversion to operate on hydrogen or FGA.

In August, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Sierra Club, Orange RAPP, and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater filed a joint motion with the Board in opposition to the Danskammer application. Our joint motion discussed how Danskammer’s submittal did not satisfy CLCPA requirements, as the assertions within were “speculative, non-specific, non-committal, unenforceable, and incomplete.” We proposed two potential remedies, one of which would require Daskammer to “submit additional information to fully detail its proposals regarding the use of FGA/hydrogen and thereby complete its Article 10 application.”

The Board agreed with our joint motion. This Tuesday, the Chair of the Board issued a letter directing Danskammer to “provide additional information to fully detail the Applicant’s proposal regarding the use of RNG and/or hydrogen, including: information demonstrating that the use of RNG and/or hydrogen is feasible at the Danskammer Facility; what if any reconfiguration and/or additional infrastructure would be needed to convert the Facility to RNG and/or hydrogen; whether the Applicant intends to commit to the use of RNG and/or hydrogen; and an explanation of how either RNG or hydrogen would qualify as a renewable energy resource and/or a zero emissions carbon resource …”

Riverkeeper thanks the New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment for recognizing the Danskammer application lacked sufficient detail and commitment to show that its proposed plan would satisfy the CLCPA. Riverkeeper also thanks our allies on this, and in particular Scenic Hudson and Earthjustice (representing Sierra Club and Orange RAPP in this case) for their hard work in spearheading the successful motion.

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Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper Joint Statement Siting Board AGAIN Rules Danskammer Application AGAIN Deficient by CLIFF WEATHERS

Good News: Siting Board AGAIN rules Danskammer application is deficient

Cliff Weathers

OSSINING, NY — September 12, 2020 — The state board in charge of approving the proposed new Danskammer power plant in Newburgh keeps finding deficiencies in the developers’ application. Now, it has called their bluff over speculative claims about the facility’s future conversion to clean energy – following through on a recent recommendation made to the board jointly by Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Earthjustice and Clearwater.

Danskammer Energy, developers of the proposed plant in Newburgh, claimed in a July application to New York’s Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment that the facility’s operation will meet the mandates of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act because it would be possible to modify it to run on hydrogen or biomass (also called fossil gas alternatives, or FGA) sometime before 2040.

The developers’ application lacked any information on the specific modifications, costs, timeline, or environmental impacts. More importantly, there was no commitment whatsoever that the facility would actually implement a conversion to operate on hydrogen or FGA.

Concerned over these deficiencies, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, EarthJustice and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater filed a joint motion with the board in opposition to the application. The developers’ assertions, stated the motion, were “speculative, non-specific, non-committal, unenforceable, and incomplete.” The motion also proposed two potential remedies, one of which would require Daskammer to “submit additional information to fully detail its proposals regarding the use of FGA/hydrogen.”

Last Tuesday, the siting board directed Danskammer to comply with this proposal and “provide additional information to fully detail the Applicant’s proposal regarding the use of RNG and/or hydrogen, including: information demonstrating that the use of RNG and/or hydrogen is feasible at the Danskammer Facility; what if any reconfiguration and/or additional infrastructure would be needed to convert the Facility to RNG and/or hydrogen; whether the Applicant intends to commit to the use of RNG and/or hydrogen; and an explanation of how either RNG or hydrogen would qualify as a renewable energy resource and/or a zero emissions carbon resource …”

Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, EarthJustice and Clearwater thank the New York Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment for recognizing that the Danskammer application lacked sufficient detail and commitment to show that its proposed plan would satisfy the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. It is clear that Danskammer’s gas-fired plant proposal is inconsistent with New York’s nation-leading climate policies, and a speculative claim about potential future conversion does not change that fact. We also thank our allies in the Stop Danskammer Coalition for their support in spearheading the successful motion.

TribuneApplication to Repower Danskammer Remains Deficient
By CHRIS BELLOVARY, RiverKeeper Staff Attorney

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