You are reading

Mayor Bill De Blasio Comes Out Against NRG’s Astoria Power Plant Proposal

NRG plans to replace its 50-year-old power generators at its Astoria facility with a new turbine generator (Map NRG)

April 19, 2021 By Christian Murray

Mayor Bill de Blasio has come out against NRG Energy’s proposal to overhaul its Astoria power plant, saying that the plan should be nixed since the plant would continue to rely on fossil fuels.

The mayor joins more than a dozen elected officials who have come out against the proposal over the past year arguing that the plant should tap into renewable energy sources.

NRG plans to replace its 50-year-old Astoria Generation Station with a natural gas-fired generator that it says would significantly reduce its carbon footprint at the site.

But the mayor, like many other elected officials, argues that the plant should rely on green energy.

“We must break our addiction to fossil fuels,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “The best way to do that is to champion projects that put us on a path to clean energy and stand against projects that reinforce our addiction.”

De Blasio also announced his opposition to the replacement of a power plant located in Gowanus, Brooklyn, operated by the Astoria Generating Company. That company plans to overhaul one of its two plants—which is powered by natural gas‐fired units. It will also close the plant that isn’t upgraded.

The mayor says that NRG and Astoria Generating Company should be building plants that don’t depend on “fracked gas.”

“Replacing the Astoria and Gowanus plants are the wrong projects. We need our partners to explore solutions that advance our transition to a green economy, because those are the solutions that ensure a healthy and safe future for all New Yorkers,” de Blasio said.

The Mayor, at his press briefing Monday morning, added that the plants “would take us backwards, not forwards.”

“They are plants that would unfortunately place us in the past,” he said, noting that it would continue “a fossil fuels dependency.”

“They should not be allowed to go forward,” he said.

The NRG plant occupies 15 acres within the 300-acre ConEd complex (NRG)

Last month, nine members of New York’s congressional delegation expressed their opposition to NRG’s proposal, sending a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo panning the project.

NRG needs the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to approve its proposal—dubbed the Astoria Replacement Project—before it can move ahead with the plan.

There is no fixed date as to when that decision will be made—although it will come after another public hearing is held. The date of that hearing has yet to be announced.

Critics argue that the plant should be powered by renewable energy sources and that natural gas is not.

They note that natural gas-fired power is not clean energy, and that extracted fracked gas releases methane, a greenhouse gas, as dangerous as coal.

NRG says it aims to replace its 50-year-old old turbines at its plant by 2023, saying that its new “state-of-the-art” generator would reduce greenhouse emissions.

The company says the plan would reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions by more than five million tons through 2035—the equivalent of taking 94,000 cars off the road every year.

The plant is what is known as a “peaker plant,” which provides power during peak demand to prevent blackouts, as well as to support the existing grid in case of emergencies.

The company says that the project is necessary “to keep the lights on” until more renewable energy sources are available.

“New Yorkers don’t need to choose between modern back-up electricity plants like our Astoria Replacement Project and renewable energy. New York needs both,” said Tom Atkins – NRG, Vice President of Development. “All credible third-party studies show highly efficient projects using lower-emitting fuels like natural gas are a critical component to reliably transition to a greener grid.”

Additionally, NRG says the plan is in compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a 2019 state law that sets the goal of reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and then to 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris is a staunch critic of the NRG plan, saying that climate crisis is real.

“To support more fossil fuel plants is to deny climate change and its damaging consequences,” Gianaris said in a statement. “I am pleased Mayor de Blasio is joining the people of Queens in opposing the construction of this unsustainable and undesirable power plant.”

Meanwhile, State Sen. Jessica Ramos, an outspoken critic of the plan, said that the state should stop new fossil fuel plants from opening. She has introduced legislation that would block companies from operating new fossil fuel plants.

Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability, said that there is no time to waste in terms of fighting the climate crisis.

“We need to be investing in the clean and renewable electricity of the future, not doubling down on the fossil fuel electricity of the past,” Furnas said.

“I’m proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mayor de Blasio and community leaders across the City and State in calling for a halt to these projects and an embrace of the cleaner, safer, healthier alternatives we need.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Jamaica man sentenced to five years for $4.5 million bank fraud and money laundering scheme

A Jamaica man was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Monday for his role in a wide-ranging bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy, which resulted in the misappropriation of approximately $4.5 million in victims funds.

Chinwendu Alisigwe, 38, was previously convicted following a trial in Manhattan federal court. According to the indictment and evidence offered at trial, from 2017 to 2020, Alisigwe used fake identifications to open 36 separate bank accounts at six different financial institutions, which he opened with more than a dozen fraudulent passports and other bogus identity documents bearing his photograph, but the names of other individuals.

16-year-old arrested after assault on 68-year-old grandmother heading to church in Jamaica Hills: NYPD

A 16-year-old Jamaica boy was arrested on Thursday and criminally charged in the vicious attack that left a 68-year-old grandmother in critical condition after the teen shoved her while she was heading to church in Jamaica Hills on Sunday morning.

Detectives from the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows apprehended the teenager in front of his residence on 89th Avenue in Jamaica following a four-day manhunt. The incident occurred as Irene Tahliambouris was on her way to morning mass on April 7.

Cop injured by glass bottle thrown from 7 train station on Roosevelt Avenue: NYPD

An on-duty NYPD police officer was injured while standing on a foot post when he was struck by a glass bottle that was thrown from the 103rd Street-Corona Plaza, 7 train station above Roosevelt Avenue early Monday morning.

Police from the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst reported that the officer was in uniform standing in front of 103-28 Roosevelt Ave. just before 2 a.m., when a man threw the bottle from the Flushing-bound platform. It struck the officer’s head, causing a laceration and a concussion.