Metzger questions need for new Danskammer plant

State Sen. Jen Metzger sent Orange County legislators a letter this month to rebut arguments in support of a proposed replacement for the Danskammer power plant in the Town of Newburgh and underscore the state’s mission to transition to entirely renewable energy sources by 2040.

The Rosendale Democrat, whose district includes part of Orange County, was weighing in on a proposed resolution in support of the power project, which the Legislature went on to pass in a 12-7 vote the following day after a long and contentious round of audience comments. Metzger, a vocal proponent of renewable energy, began her letter by pointing out that she served on a Senate working group this year that helped develop the law that set New York’s aggressive new carbon-reduction goals.

“To meet these ambitious goals, it is important to avoid investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure, which have an expected lifespan of 50 years or more,” Metzger wrote.

She then chipped away at the argument that the new gas-fired plant would burn cleaner than the current one by pointing out the existing plant is used only occasionally to meet peak demand, while the proposed one would run consistently.

She also questioned the future need for full-time Danskammer power, saying a report this year by the New York Independent System Operator “identified no reliability needs for the next decade, even after taking into account the closure of Indian Point.” She noted that NYISO hadn’t even factored into that conclusion two recent contracts for off-shore wind power that she said are expected to add 1,700 megawatts – three times that of the proposed Danskammer plant – to the grid by 2024.

She ended by sympathizing with the desire for construction jobs and suggesting they could be found instead through green-energy projects, such as “utility-scale renewable energy and storage resources,” that will be needed to meet the state’s goals.

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