DUNKIRK – State Sen. Catharine Young, while disappointed in NRG’s decision to withdraw from the Dunkirk Power Plant project, tried to reassure local tax payers that the impact of lost revenue won’t be felt immediately.
“Yet, because we were successful in establishing a $45 million state mitigation fund to help offset revenue losses, there will not be an immediate impact to local services and programs, which should be reassuring to local taxpayers,” Young said. “Additionally, as a member of the Financial Restructuring Review Board (FRB), I am working on other funding solutions aimed at helping Dunkirk taxpayers.”
Young called NRG’s decision “a dagger in the heart of our community”, adding that the loss or projected tax revenue will be devastating to the Dunkirk school district, the City of Dunkirk and Chautauqua County.
“By making this decision at this juncture, it is apparent that NRG has been disingenuous about their intentions. They bailed out before they had all of the information. They have a lot of excuses, but those ring hollow and the onus rests squarely on them. They are blaming the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), but they always have known full well the process that is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the NYISO,” she said.
NRG lost interconnection rights because they failed to renew them, Young explained.
“That’s why they would have to go through the interconnection process at this point. They knew the consequences of not taking action. NRG is saying that the interconnect fee will exceed $100 million, when they know that is the worst case scenario. If they had waited just a couple of days, they would have had more information. It is a fact that interconnect costs decline significantly as other developers drop out of the process. Instead of waiting to see which projects were left and trying to work with us, NRG decided to turn their backs on the community and the state,” Young said.
Young vowed to seek a solution.
“I will fight to find a solution. Either another power generator should take over the plant, or the site should be redeveloped into a resource that supports our tax base and grows jobs. I will be working to explore every option in the coming days,” Young said. “I am confident that we can overcome this setback. With the construction of the new Athenex plant on the horizon, it is clear that Dunkirk is a community on the rise. I look forward to working with state and local officials and the dedicated members of our community to sustain our forward momentum.”