coal plants

Coal vs. natural gas during the polar vortex

Dec 20, 2014
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

President Barack Obama wants the U.S. to get serious about climate change. He’s proposed to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The coal industry and conservative politicians say new carbon rules will kill King Coal, and they warn that without it, severe weather events, like last year’s polar vortex, could leave people in the cold and dark.

Duke Energy / via Flickr

New Yorkers could see health benefits from proposed standards for coal power plants, new research has found.

A vast majority of New York’s energy production comes from nuclear, hydro and natural gas, but the state is downwind from states that do burn a lot of coal, like Ohio, so that means the soot blows this way.

Kate O'Connell/Innovation Trail

The state Public Service Commission (PSC) has come under scrutiny in recent weeks with claims that there’s a lack of transparency in its proceedings.

The commission’s handling of plans for the future of two coal-fired power plants in upstate New York has been particularly criticized.

Opposing solutions for the Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants are being considered. The options are to either upgrade transmission lines or repower the facilities with natural gas.

Opponents of hydrofracking are lining up against plans to convert a Tompkins County power plant from coal to natural gas, making it the newest front line in the fight against gas drilling in New York.The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is considering a proposal to convert the Cayuga Power Plant or shut it down, while the proposal’s opponents are calling the process too secretive.

At a press conference in Ithaca on Monday, Dryden resident Joe Wilson held up the version of the repowering proposal that was made public.

WSKG

Once every week, a freight train loaded with coal makes its way through Ithaca to the coal-fired power plant north of town in Lansing, on the shore of Cayuga Lake. Those shipments may stop soon.

The state’s Public Service Commission is considering the future of the Lansing plant. The pending decision has sparked a local debate that says a lot about the challenges New York will face if it’s serious about switching to new sources of power.

Kate O'Connell / WXXI

The changing face of New York’s energy landscape has brought uncertainty about the future of the state’s coal plants. The future of one particular plant in western New York has become a hot topic.

Plummeting natural gas prices and tightening emissions restrictions have made the NRG Energy plant in Dunkirk unviable from a business standpoint.

But, the plant is too important to the reliability of western New York’s electricity grid to simply shut it down.

Kate O'Connell / Innovation Trail

It's a tough environment for coal-plants in New York state. The state is home to some of the oldest power facilities in the country, which operate under stricter emissions regulations introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).