The Richard M. Flynn Power Plant is an appropriate herald to the new competitive era for electric utilities. Generating commercial electricity since 1994, it was the first power project to be constructed under a New York State program requiring competitive bids for new generators.
In 1990 the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), the region's local utility at that time, chose NYPA over 20 other competing interests nationwide to build the plant, rated with a net dependable capability of 135,000-kilowatts (kw). We won the competition thanks to a design for an efficient, reliable and environmentally sound power plant. Today, the Flynn plant operates from Holtsville, Suffolk County, under a 20-year contract with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the state agency that took over Long Island's electric transmission and distribution system in 1998.
Our secret, at the Flynn plant, is "combined-cycle" technology, which allows us to power two generators with just one fuel supply.
In the first cycle, the fuel—usually natural gas—is burned, with the hot gases expanding against turbine blades to power a combustion turbine-generator capable of producing about 100,000 kw. Heat exhaust that is normally lost during this process is then captured to produce steam that powers a steam turbine-generator, capable of producing about 57,000 kw. While ambient temperature can affect power production, the Flynn plant's combined-cycle system generates about 50 percent more electricity than the ordinary single-cycle power system would.
Though owned and operated by the Power Authority, the Flynn plant sells all its output to LIPA, which transmits it directly to Long Island consumers.
At the Flynn plant, we use natural gas—the cleanest of all fossil fuels—as our primary source of energy. We burn gas an average of 329 days a year, relying on low-sulfur oil as a backup the rest of the time.
LIPA considers economics in deciding which power plants to draw electricity from first. And, since price reflects fuel cost and efficiency, the Flynn plant is an economical choice.
The Power Authority also helps Long Islanders meet their electricity needs with its Sound Cable Project, which carries power from across the state to the Island via an underground and underwater transmission line.
As competition heats up in the electric utility industry, the Power Authority has a proven track record of being able to adapt to changing public needs with innovative projects, on Long Island and across New York State. Our Flynn plant is just one more example of this.