New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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State Kills Gas-Fired Power Plant in Queens

Astoria, Queens

Climate Mobilization Act, building carbon emissions, Department of Environmental Conservation, co-op and condo boards.

A rendering of the proposed "peaker" plant in Astoria, Queens (image courtesy of NRG). 

Oct. 29, 2021

For co-op and condo boards trying to comply with the city's Climate Mobilization Act, New York State just sent a loud message: forget fossil fuels, and start thinking about electrification.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has killed a proposed power plant in Astoria, Queens, that was to be powered by fracked natural gas, The City reports. The decision effectively puts an end to energy company NRG’s plans to replace the half-century-old electrical “peaker” plant in Astoria with a newer type of gas-powered facility, arguing it would be necessary to gird against blackouts. Peakers run when electricity demand is high, such as during heat waves or cold weather, but they emit more nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide per unit of electricity than typical power facilities.

In denying NRG’s air permit application, the DEC upheld its previous position that the proposed project did not comply with the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates greenhouse gas emissions cuts and increased electrification. The act's mandate is for electricity generation to be emission-free by 2040.

“We must shift to a renewable future,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

The state law is a companion to the city's Climate Mobilization Act, which sets caps on building carbon emissions. Buildings, including co-ops and condos, that exceed their caps will face stiff fines beginning in 2024 and again in 2030. Switching from fossil fuels to electricity-powered infrastructure will be a prime way for co-op and condo boards to trim their carbon emissions. Such cuts are predicated on an electric grid that is increasingly powered by renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and hydroelectric.

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