Cayuga power station (New York)
Cayuga power station (New York) was a 322.5-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by the Cayuga Operating Company near Lansing, New York.
The plant is located in Lansing, NY, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake.
- Owner: Cayuga Operating Company
- Parent Company: Riesling Power, owned by Beowulf Energy LLC
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 322.5 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 155.3 MW (1955), Unit 2: 167.2 MW (1955)
- Location: 228 Cayuga Dr., Lansing, NY 14882
- GPS Coordinates: 42.603333, -76.63555
- Technology: Subcritical
- Coal type: Bituminous
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source: Fisher Mining Mine (Fisher), Arco No1 Mine (Murray Energy)
- Number of Employees:
- Unit Retirements: The plant stopped generating power after running out of fuel on August 29, 2019, and officially retired in October 2019.
In 1999, AES purchased six power plants in New York (including the Cayuga station) from NGE Generation, Inc. for $953 million. The other stations included in the deal were AES Somerset, AES Westover, AES Greenidge, AES Hickling, and AES Jennison In March 2011 AES announced it wanted to sell four of its New York coal plants, including Cayuga. The other plants included AES Westover, AES Greenidge and AES Somerset. 
AES filed for bankruptcy protection on December 30, 2011. A group of bondholders formed Upstate New York Power Producers to purchase AES Cayuga power station and Somerset from the bankrupt AES Energy East for US$240 million in 2012.
Upstate New York Power Producers tried to get Public Service Commission (PSC) approval for a plan to repower Cayuga with natural gas, but failed. On May 17, 2016, Upstate sold both the Cayuga and Somerset plants to Riesling Power LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Beowulf Energy LLC.
In July 2012, Cayuga Operating Company notified the Commission that it intended to mothball the facility, based on “current and forecasted wholesale electric prices in New York that are inadequate for the Cayuga Facility to operate economically.” Since then, Cayuga has been operating only through ratepayer subsidies of approximately US$4 million per month.
In February 2016 the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected Cayuga’s proposal for an additional US$145 million in ratepayer funds to repower the plant with coal and gas, choosing instead electricity transmission upgrades that will make the plant unnecessary.
In May 2018 Cayuga Operating Company submitted an air permit modification application for the conversion of one of the plant's two burners to natural gas.
After widespread public opposition, in May 2019 the Cayuga plant operator told the Lansing Town Board that the plant would be converted into a clean energy data center by 2020.
The Cayuga Operating Company filed a deactivation notice with the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) on June 28, 2019. The plant will be retired within 90 days of the day of filing, meaning the plant will close before October 1, 2019.
As of July 2022, a proposed cryptocurrency mining operation, the Terawulf Cayuga Lake facility, is to be located at the Cayuga power station site. The proposal does not involve restarting the coal plant.
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,370,486 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions:
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions:
- 2005 Mercury Emissions:
The following table gives more info on this plant's SO2 emissions levels, as well as on whatever SO2 emissions "scrubbers" (Flue Gas Desulfurization units, or FGDs) have been installed at the plant. Each of the plant's units is listed separately, and at the bottom overall data for the plant is listed.
|Unit #||Year Built||Capacity||MWh Produced (2005)||SO2 Emissions (2005)||SO2 Emissions per MWh (2005)||Average Annual Coal Sulfur Content||FGD Unit Type||FGD In-Service Year||FGD SO2 Removal Efficiency|
|1||1955||155 MW||1,197,205 MWh||1,505 tons||2.51 lb./MWh||2.31%||spray tower||1995||94%|
|2||1955||167 MW||1,213,463 MWh||1,463 tons||2.41 lb./MWh||2.28%||spray tower||1995||90%|
|Total||323 MW||2,410,668 MWh||2,968 tons||2.46 lb./MWh|
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Cayuga Generation Plant
In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Cayuga Generation Plant
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||3||$1,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination
In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that New York, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites. The report mentioned New York based Cayuga power station as having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.
Articles and Resources
- "EIA 923 2019" EIA 923 2019.
- "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory" eia.gov, 860m March 2020
- Anbinder, Mark H. "End of an Era: Power plant shutting down after 64 years". 14850. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
- "AES completes acquistion of six power plants in New York with total capacity of 1424 MW", Business Wire via High Beam Research, May 14, 1999.
- "AES to sell four New York coal plants" Reuters, March, 4, 2011.
- "AES to sell four New York coal plants" Reuters, March, 4, 2011.
- "FERC Approves Sale of Doomed New York Coal Plants," RTO Insider, January 18, 2016
- "Upstate New York Power Producers Response to New York Energy Highway Request for Information," New York Energy Highway, accessed Oct 2017
- "Sold! Cayuga and Somerset Power Plants Under New Ownership," Lansing Star, May 27, 2016
- "PSC Rejects Cayuga Subsidies -- Opts For Transmission Upgrades," Sierra Club, Feb 23, 2016
- "Power Plant to Repower With Natural Gas," Lansing Star, June 22, 2018
- Andrew Sullivan, "Cayuga Power Plant to close down, convert to data center," The Ithaca, May 16, 2019
- "Cayuga Coal Plant files deactivation notice, will close in the next 90 days". www.weny.com. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
- "Facility potentially opening at old power plant site". Ithaca.com. December 23, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
- Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.
- EIA-767, Energy Information Administration, 2005.
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
- "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Environmental Integrity Project, "Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants", July 2007.
- Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed Feb. 2009.