Orange County Partnership - News

Danskammer Energy Project Receives Major Boost from Organized Labor

The $500-million Danskammer Energy project in Newburgh, which is in the Article 10 process before the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, recently received a major endorsement from the New York State AFL-CIO.


The proposed project would convert the aging Danskammer plant into a 535-megawatt energy facility.


The Siting Board includes the chair of the Public Service Commission, the commissioner of Department of Environmental Conservation, the commissioner of the Department of Health, the chair of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the commissioner of the Department of Economic Development, and two local community members. The project has been in the Article 10 process since December 2019.


In a Jan. 4, 2021 letter to PSC Chairman John B. Rhodes, New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento endorsed the Danskammer project on behalf of the organized labor organization’s 2.5 million members.


“The New York State AFL-CIO believes that the repowering of Danskammer is critical to the future reliability of our energy infrastructure, and in turn essential to our members’ short- and long-term ability to build, serve and fuel the state’s economy,” Cilento said.


Cilento noted that Danskammer entered into a Project Labor Agreement on the construction of the repowered facility and has agreed to union neutrality for the operations of the project. He estimates that the project will generate 450 construction jobs and additional permanent jobs upon completion and operation of the facility.


He related that the repowered energy plant is estimated to provide $50 million in tax revenue to fund essential vital local services, including education, health care and public safety for residents of Orange County.


Cilento also touted that the project will be developed as a “hydrogen-ready” plant. “Aside from the benefits of a zero-transmission facility, this means that as technology to transport and store hydrogen advances, there will be additional opportunities for job creation in the green energy sector at Danskammer,” he said.


Some of the environmental benefits of this project include a reduction in current plant emissions by an estimated 80%-90%, reducing use of natural gas by roughly 50%, eliminate the use of Hudson River water to cool the facility, and fast-capability and increased reliability, which will help back up the state’s growing renewable energy infrastructure. Once complete, the facility will supply power to approximately 500,000 homes.


Cilento concluded the letter, which was also sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other members of the Siting Board, by saying, “We believe the people of New York would not be well-served by any further delay in the siting process. Once again, I urge you to determine the Danskammer application is complete and commence public hearings as soon as possible.”