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LIPA Chairman: Repowering Old Power Plants Poses a “High Hurdle”

Authority looking for green and efficient energy options.

Looking at proposals for new energy options, the Long Island Power Authority is in favor of green energy solutions, according to a report on the Long Island Business News website.

During a March meeting, LIPA Board Chairman Howard Steinberg said that the power utility is looking for new contracts to replace expiring power agreements with National Grid, the British utility that owns the power plant in Port Jefferson and Northport.

Steinberg was quoted by LIBN as saying outdated plants like Port Jefferson's were not viable options as they looked for cleaner energy production.

“My own view is that old and inefficient plants have a very high hurdle,” Steinberg is reported as saying. “Whether it’s new technology, green technology, repowering, I think we have to look forward and be focused on much greater efficiency.”

LIBN did say that LIPA has not totally ruled out continuing the use of energy produced at the National Grid-owned plants in Northport and Port Jefferson in some way.

According to Mayor Margot Garant, National Grid has not proposed any new power agreements with LIPA that utilizes power from the Port Jefferson plant in this current request for proposal as the Long Island utility seeks new options.

The village has put together to advocate for repowering the existing power plant in the village. The an outdated plant is an economical solution that is green because it recycles a plant that would sit idle or need to undergo expensive remediation.

Most importantly, there is little cry of “not in my backyard” (sometimes known as NIMBY) that is typically associated with developing a large industrial site in many neighborhoods.

“A host community exists,” Mayor Garant said. “We are here. It is in our backyard already and we welcome it.”

To attract potential investors to repower the plant, Senator Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, that promises a minimum of 25 percent of the funds needed to clean up the site and multiple tax credits as incentives.

According to Drew Biondo, director of communications for senator LaValle the legislation will extend a similar program that subsidizes the remediation of brownfields for manufacturers.

“We’re taking the New York State program and applying it towards this site,” he said.

A call for a solution from Albany has been coming out of the village’s . LaValle said in a statement that that the bill will attempt to generate interest in the site through legislation.

Meanwhile, LIPA is grieving the taxes it pays on the power plant through its purchase power agreement in hopes of saving money on an industrial site it says does not have the value it once had in the past. If the utility is successful in grieving its taxes down to 90 percent as it proposes, it , which gets 40 percent of its revenue from the taxes on the power plant property.

Read the entire story on LIPA Board Chairman Howard Steinberg’s comments on the Long Island Business News website here.

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