Friday, September 25, 2020

Comptroller Stringer Demands Gowanus Power Plant Be Replaced With Sustainable Alternatives, Not More Fossil Fuel Infrastructure


Current proposal to redevelop the plant would lock in decades of future emissions, all while forcing ratepayers to ultimately pay for power plant that pollutes their own air

Urges the State to instead accelerate a transition to a clean energy future by facilitating the deployment of solar generation, battery storage, demand management, and energy efficiency measures

Stringer: “Rather than reinforcing the fossil fuel status quo, it is now past time to overhaul our energy infrastructure and permanently retire all polluting ‘peaker plants’ in New York City and replace them with renewable and battery powered solutions that generate both reliable power and good jobs.”

 New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called on the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment to reject the Astoria Generating Company’s Gowanus Repowering Project Proposal.  In his letter, Comptroller Stringer argued that the proposal would put our climate goals further out of reach and perpetuate local air pollution that puts neighboring communities at risk. Rather than continuing to allow peaker plants to run off of fossil fuels and pollute our neighborhoods and climate, the Comptroller argued we must be seeking every opportunity to leverage new technology that would allow for the closure of peaker plants across the city with the aim of enhancing environmental justice.

Astoria Generating Company’s redevelopment plans would redevelop its existing peaker plant, located on barges floating on Gowanus Bay, with larger turbines powered by fracked natural gas. Comptroller Stringer urged the State to evaluate the project against sustainable alternatives that would rely on renewable power generation and large utility-scale batteries to ensure reliability of the grid. Comptroller Stringer questioned how the project is compatible with the State and City’s ambitious climate goals and how the City can achieve a transition to a green energy future if it continues to allow the installation of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Citing several energy efficiency programs that New York is already pursuing, Comptroller Stringer recommended doubling down on a clean energy strategy to generate green, well-paid jobs that will help jumpstart New York’s economic recovery and should be prioritized over the replacement of the Gowanus plant.

Comptroller Stringer also raised concerns that the proposal jeopardizes the health and safety of the surrounding community made up of working-class people of color who have already been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Even absent a global pandemic, exposure to fine air pollution claims the lives of more than 3,000 New Yorkers every year.

Comptroller Stringer supports a moratorium on all major fossil fuel infrastructure and recently expressed his opposition against plans for a gas powered peaker plant in Astoria.

To read the full letter from Comptroller Stringer to Secretary Michelle L. Phillips, see below or click here.

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