NYPA CEO Announces $1.5 Million Contract With NYC Firm For Evaluation Of Equipment At Recently Closed Queens Generating Unit

Michael Saltzman

June 18, 2010


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel announced Friday that NYPA has awarded a $1.5 million contract to TRC Engineers of New York City in support of the potential future decommissioning of a Queens generating unit at which NYPA permanently ceased electricity production on Jan. 31. 

The NYPA Board of Trustees late last month approved a three-year contract with TRC to assess and design potential future decommissioning activities at the 1970s-era natural gas- and oil-fueled generating unit at the Charles Poletti Power Project, where NYPA operates an ultra-efficient and clean dual-fueled generating facility that went into service in December 2005.  The contract award follows a process in which an interdepartmental team of NYPA personnel reviewed competing proposals from eight companies for assessing and designing future decommissioning activities at the Poletti site.  

“The termination of operations at the Poletti generating unit earlier this year followed through on the commitment that the Power Authority made several years ago for paving the way for the licensing, construction and operation of the new, clean generating facility at the same 47-acre site in Astoria where the older unit is located,” Kessel said.  “Now, we’re proceeding with the assessment and development of detailed plans regarding the disposition of the older facility, including determining what equipment can be reused and sold off. The consulting and engineering services by TRC will also involve integration of critical site infrastructure that had previously been operated from the now-closed older unit.”

Kessel noted that the decommissioning-related measures will include modifications to the newer facility—a 500-megawatt (mw) combined-cycle generating plant—involving various functions such as fire protection.  A new fire pump house will be constructed to modify the plant’s fire protection system, which is currently looped through the fire pumps that served the older Poletti unit.  

Other new infrastructure and modifications that need to be integrated with the combined-cycle plant’s operations as a result of the Poletti unit’s closing involve a sewer ejection system; a Remote Terminal Unit for transmitting operational data; communications and controls for small, clean natural gas power plants that the Power Authority operates at six sites in New York City; and dedicated phone lines to NYPA’s Energy Control Center, near Utica, which coordinates the electricity flow of the Power Authority’s generating facilities around the state.  

As part of the decommissioning-related activities, NYPA also recently constructed a new gas line for the Poletti site administration building, which is utilized by site management personnel.

"The closing of the Poletti power plant was a great triumph in our fight to provide western Queens with cleaner air, and the Power Authority deserves our thanks for staying true to its word," said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).  "Now it is time for the Power Authority to finish the job and tear down the building that serves as a visible reminder of New York's worst polluter."

“I welcome the decommissioning project and hope to continue to work with Richard Kessel and NYPA to ensure the newer facility implements clean and efficient energy-generating practices,” said Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr.

The selection of TRC for the design engineering services contract was made on the basis of the company’s responsiveness to NYPA’s request for proposals, its bid price and its experience in undertaking similar types of decommissioning-related initiatives with other utilities, utilizing best industry practices. The company, which has been in business for more than 40 years, with offices around the country, has successfully worked with NYPA on multiple environmental assessment projects for the public power utility’s statewide operations.    

The 885-mw Poletti generating unit at which the Power Authority terminated operations first went into service in 1977.  It provided electricity for NYPA’s governmental customers in New York City in combination with other economical power sources. 

Under a 2002 agreement to reduce emissions, NYPA curtailed the Poletti generating unit’s power production when the new combined-cycle facility went into service nearly five years ago.  This was followed by the permanent termination of generation at the older unit this past January in line with the historic agreement with environmental groups, the City of New York, the Queens Borough President’s Office and other parties. 

The combined-cycle facility, which is equipped with the most advanced emission controls, captures hot gases normally lost in the generation of power, creating steam to produce additional amounts of electricity.  This also reduces environmental impacts. 

The Power Authority meets the electricity needs of the tens of thousands of public facilities and services in New York City with a combination of generating facilities, including the combined-cycle plant, and from wholesale energy market purchases. The recipients include schools, hospitals, municipal buildings and the subways and commuter trains.

In collaboration with the governmental customers, NYPA has also arranged for new economical power generation that will further contribute to the city’s air quality by displacing electricity production from older, less efficient generating capacity.

NYPA’s 47-acre Poletti property is part of a larger site overlooking the East River that has long been used for electricity generation, fuel storage and related industrial purposes. 


About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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