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Controversial Repowering of the Cayuga and Dunkirk Coal-fired Power Plants

The Dunkirk power plant.

The Dunkirk power plant. Repowering the two plants would lock the region into continued use of fossil fuels and hike electricity bills.

Photo courtesy of Seabamirum / Flickr

Case Overview

Earthjustice is representing the group of elected officials in the repowering proceedings before New York's Public Service Commission. At issue is a controversial, precedent-setting decision: whether to repower the uneconomic coal-burning Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants with natural gas—a plan that would lock the region into continued use of fossil fuels and hike electricity bills for people and businesses across a 20-county region in western and central New York, or take the plants offline and instead upgrade the transmission lines—a cleaner and far less expensive option.

The cost of repowering the two plants could cost as much as $1.5 billion—a cost that would fall to ratepayers. Upgrading transmission lines would accomplish the same goal for under $100 million.

Tompkins County Legislator Carol Chock, along with Town of Caroline councilmember Irene Weiser, are representatives of a group of elected and public officials from an eight-county region that have officially intervened in the PSC repowering proceedings to register concerns about the proposal.

Case ID


Case Updates

September 26, 2014 | Legal Document

Dunkirk Repowering Article 78 Memo of Law

By order dated June 13, 2014, the New York Public Service Commission approved a repowering agreement for the Dunkirk coal-burning power plant that requires National Grid ratepayers to subsidize a generating facility three times larger than is need ed to maintain grid reliability at a cost four times that of equally reliable transmission alternatives.

September 26, 2014 | Legal Document

Dunkirk Notice of Petition and Verification

This proceeding challenges the June 13, 2014 Order Addressing Repowering Issues and Cost Allocation and Recovery issued by Respondents New York Public Service Commission and the New York State Department of Public Service approving a February 13, 2014 Term Sheet Agreement filed by National Grid to add natural-gas firing cap ability to the Dunkirk coal-burning power plant.

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