Construction of $900M power plant in Wawayanda set to start this year

By Richard J. Bayne
re-posted fromTimes Herald-Record

January 31. 2015 3:41PM

A rendering of the 640-megawatt, gas-fired power-generating plant that would be located on land bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84 in the Town of Wawayanda.

A rendering of the 640-megawatt, gas-fired power-generating plant that would be located on land bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84 in the Town of Wawayanda.

WAWAYANDA – Construction on a gas-fired power-generating plant, to be built on a 122-acre parcel off Route 6, will begin early in the fourth quarter of this year, a principal at Competitive Power Ventures Holdings said.

Steve Remillard, CPV’s vice president, development, said the company has cleared all its regulatory hurdles to build the $900 million, 640-megawatt plant and, Remillard said, they’re “working diligently on commercialization,” which means solidifying financing and lining up customers.

The CPV office that has been overseeing planning for the proposed Wawayanda plant is in Braintree, Mass., which is caught up in football fever this Super Bowl weekend as the New England Patriots get set for the matchup in Phoenix, so Remillard used a football analogy.

“We’re in the end zone,” he said. “We’ve gotten all the approvals. We’re there.”

CPV has said the plant, which has been going through the approval process for the past six years, would be located on a parcel bounded by routes 6 and 17M and I-84. Remillard said plans call for the plant to occupy 30 acres. The remaining 92 would be buffer. He anticipates a 31-month construction timetable.

The proposed CPV plant was the focus of a Jan. 17 demonstration by a coalition of environmental groups and neighbors. One of the key organizers of that protest, Pramilla Malick of Westtown, reacting to the latest news from CPV, said their fight is not over.

“We will continue to hold that company (CPV), and any other company that assumes ownership of that plant, accountable for the health and safety of the community,” Malick said Friday.

Opponents contend the plant would spew toxic emissions that would harm many parts of the Hudson Valley. They also have raised the possibility of damage to archaeological sites, including Native American burial grounds and early European settlements.

CPV has said the proposed plant passed all air-quality reviews, even studies done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and a consultant to the Town of Wawayanda. A consultant concluded there are “no significant archaeological resources” on the site, company documents say.

In their latest move to try to block construction, opponents have sent a letter with 1,500 signatures and bearing the names of 40 organizations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Public Service Commission, calling on New York state to stop the project.

CPV says the project will create 500 jobs for the construction phase and 25 once it comes online.

The firm has agreed to pay the Town of Wawayanda $8.2 million over 22 years under a “host” agreement CPV negotiated with a local development corporation created by the town. Wawayanda will also receive $2.8 million in property taxes over the same period under an agreement between CPV and the Orange County Industrial Development Corp.

Taxes to the town, the county and Minisink Valley schools will be phased in over 22 years. Overall, the company is expected to pay $46.4 million in property taxes during that period. That includes $32.6 million to the school district, and $5.6 million to the county. The company would pay an estimated $5.3 million in taxes to the New Hampton Fire District in that time.

dbayne@th-record.com

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