The power plant in Torrey will be fired with biomass and natural gas. Company officials say the DEC has accepted Greenidge's proposal to include in the Title V Permit enforceable language that permanently eliminates the ability of the facility to ever run on coal.
Greenidge Generation announced Aug. 12 that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has published for public comment a Draft Title V Permit approving the facility’s application to restart the power plant by firing biomass and natural gas, without the use of coal. The facility will subsequently convert its generating operations to natural gas as the primary fuel.
Greenidge previously was authorized to operate on biomass and natural gas under its prior Title V permit, and will be restored to full operation from its temporary protective layup status.
The DEC has accepted Greenidge’s proposal to include in the Title V Permit enforceable language that permanently eliminates the ability of the facility to ever run on coal.
The draft permit allows Greenidge to run on biomass and natural gas — an environmentally-sound approach, according to a statement released by the company. The restart of the facility, which recently underwent significant emissions-control upgrades, has received support from federal, state and local elected officials, as well as civic and business leaders.
“This project is a ‘win-win’ for both the environment and for upstate New York taxpayers as Greenidge is truly a model for the type of facility that should be in full operation today,” said Dale Irwin, General Manager of Greenidge, adding, “Greenidge is an environmentally-sound power source that will bring new jobs, generate robust economic activity, restore tax revenues, and produce much-needed electricity, all while running far-cleaner than many of the other facilities in the region.”
“We are very pleased that, after a thorough and complete review of our application, the Department of Environmental Conservation has found that Greenidge clearly meets all the federal and state standards for resuming full operation,” Irwin added. “We’re excited to discuss the many benefits of this project with the public in the coming days.”
The State Department of Environmental Conservation published in its Aug. 12 Environmental Bulletin a Draft Title V air permit which could allow the plant to come back onto the market as early as this fall, pending completion of a public comment period and subsequent review by federal officials. Unlike other power plants in the region, Greenidge is not asking the New York Department of Public Service for assistance with a Reliability Support Agreement, according to the company’s prepared statement.
Greenidge will also be making investments to protect fish in Seneca Lake, fully complying with state SPDES Permit requirements. In addition, the company will explore opportunities to add solar power on the 300-acre property while partnering with local economic development officials to maximize the job creation potential of the site.
Prior to its bankruptcy in 2012, Greenidge was upgraded to include over $45 million in new, state of the art emissions controls and environmental retrofits. Importantly, these upgrades include those funded via a $14 million federal grant from the U.S Department of Energy. Company officials say restoring the plant to full operation from its protective layup status ensures that these significant taxpayer funds will not be wasted.
“The steps being taken by Greenidge and the State of New York will make a substantial positive impact on Yates County, which has long welcomed this plant as part of our community,” said Yates County Legislature Chairman Timothy Dennis, adding, “We look forward to working in partnership with the local community to bring the plant back on line and all the jobs and revenue that means.”
The village of Dresden, the town of Torrey, and the Yates County Legislature have all endorsed plans to restore the plant to full power from its protective layup, while other local elected officials and area business leaders, including local wineries, have also welcomed its return.
“This plant has long been a good neighbor and a source of good jobs for our people,” said Leigh MacKerchar, mayor of Penn Yan. “The sooner we can get it back to full power, the better for taxpayers, for area businesses and for our community. We appreciate the DEC moving forward with this project. The DEC and the State of New York deserve a lot of credit for advancing this important revitalization project.”
“I applaud New York State and the DEC for moving reactivation of Greenidge forward,” said Patrick Flynn, Supervisor of the town of Torrey. “Reactivation enjoys broad local support and we look forward to resuming a partnership that will result in clean energy, more jobs and increased tax revenues for our school districts and other vital public services.”
“Greenidge will be among the cleanest and greenest power plants of its kind in New York,” said Bill Hall, Mayor of the Village of Dresden. “This facility and its owners have demonstrated they are ready to be an active part of the Dresden community and we welcome them back to full operation. Supporting clean energy, more jobs and more tax revenue is a no-brainer for our residents.”
John Martini, owner of Anthony Road Winery said, “The owners of Greenidge are a proven environmental and economic growth partner for New York State – just look at what they did in Glens Falls - saving over 600 jobs at Finch Paper and providing 160,000 acres to The Nature Conservancy. They are committed to creating jobs and restoring tax revenue, thereby increasing local economic activity, a huge boon to our community.”
“This plant has been part of the landscape here for a generation and it’s never been anything but a positive for the community,” said Scott Osborn, president of Fox Run Vineyards. “We want it back because we need more clean power generation, first and foremost, and because it will provide needed revenue for local governments and schools. Plus, the prospect of potentially exploring solar projects at the site really makes this a great project for the community. I have met with Dale and the owners and they are exactly the kind of partners we need here in Yates County.”
Skip Jensen, regional field advisor for the NYS Farm Bureau, said, “The Yates County Farm Bureau voted unanimously to support bringing this plant back to full power because we need the jobs, the tax revenue and the clean energy it will generate. This plant has been part of our community for generations and has always been a welcome part of Yates County. We appreciate DEC moving forward with this sensible plan, which can only help the Finger Lakes economy.”
“The site can serve as an engine for other business growth and we’re working very closely with the Greenidge team, as well as state and local officials, to create a job hub that will help current economic development efforts and expand on Yates County's recent and numerous successes,” said Steve Griffin, CEO of Finger Lakes Economic Development Center. “They are not just making a multi-million investment in our community; they have given us an open door to create even more jobs. That is a true partnership, and we welcome it.”
“This really is the most exciting news I’ve seen in the 14 years I have been working here,” said Irwin. “We’ve been a key part of this community for a long time, and we’re here to stay.”
"Greenidge Generation has done everything possible to restart a facility that will boost the local economy, help meet power demands and protect the environment – all while reducing America’s reliance on Middle Eastern Crude Oil. I'm pleased to see the state clear the way for a restart before the end of the year," said U.S. Representative Tom Reed.
State Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, says, “The DEC’s long-awaited decision to restart the Greenidge Power Plant will deliver badly needed economic and fiscal benefits to many local
communities, create local jobs and contribute to the local tax base. New York State as a whole is in great need of this kind of additional generation to meet the huge demand for a stable supply of electricity statewide. The plant will be outfitted to utilize natural gas and biomass and, as a result, will provide noteworthy environmental benefits. Greenidge will be one of the cleanest plants of its kind in the nation. Overall, it’s a positive outcome and good news for Yates County residents and taxpayers.”
State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Ranking Member of the New York State Assembly Energy Committee, says, "I'm strongly supportive of the DEC's decision to move forward with restarting the Greenidge Power Plant. It's critically important for so many Yates County residents, taxpayers, school districts and communities. The plant will provide a badly needed source of local tax revenue and employment for local workers, while at the same time producing the important regional and statewide energy and environmental benefits of cleaner energy and additional generating capacity to meet our growing energy needs. It's a very positive action for our economic, energy and environmental futures."
“Sen. Thomas O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have been critical supporters of the Greenidge Power Plant since day one," says McKeon. "Their tireless efforts have helped us get to where we are today, and will result in hundreds of well-paying jobs for their constituents. We look forward to working together with them to ensure that Greenidge continues to have a meaningful, positive impact on the community.”