N.Y. regulators refuse to renew air permit for gas plant

Competitive Power Ventures’ 680-megawatt Valley power project in Wawayanda, N.Y., hit a major bump in the road this week when the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation issued a letter informing the developer that it was not renewing the project’s air permit.

The project, which has been under construction for years, was in the commissioning phase when the DEC denied the renewal of the project’s Air State Facility permit.

The state agency said it could not renew the permit because Competitive Power Ventures does not have a Title V Clean Air Act permit. New York only recently made having a Title V permit a requirement for an Air State Facility permit.

At this point, securing a Title V permit would cause even further delays for eventual start-up of the project. Prior to issuance of a Title V permit, a complete application must be submitted and the public must be given notice and the opportunity to comment. In addition, under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency requires a 45 day review period prior to issuing a Title V permit.

“At each step of the process, we have worked collaboratively with regulators at every level of government,” CPV spokesman Tom Rumsey said in a statement in response to questions. “As the Supreme Court-State of New York stated in 2013 when the NYDEC defended our permits in court, the agency acted on a 'rational basis' when issuing the facilities permits. The CPV Valley Energy Center will reduce emissions, lower rates, and help New York State meet its goals for clean energy. We remain committed to operating within all applicable operating permit requirements and look forward to working with the DEC to address any concerns they may have,” Rumsey said.

The combined-cycle Valley project is one of several proposed to fill the supply gap that will be left when the Indian Point nuclear plant close to New York City shuts down in 2021. Other projects include the 575 MW Danskammer plant in Newburgh, N.Y., the 1,100 MW Cricket Valley project in Dover, N.Y., scheduled for completion in 2020, and a 1,200 MW plant in New Jersey proposed by Diamond Generating.

Fossil fuel projects have had a hard time securing necessary permits in New York. Just about a year ago, the Department of Environmental Conservation denied a permit to the Millennium gas pipeline. The 7.8-mile project is designed to supply the fuel for the Valley power project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission overturned the DEC’s decision last September.