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New York Is Killing Off Its Last Coal Power Plants Standing

May 10, 2019, by Lynn Doan

New York has adopted a rule that will eventually kill off its last coal-fired power plants standing.

The state’s environmental regulator said Thursday that it had passed regulations requiring all power generators to meet new carbon-dioxide emissions limits that coal plants can’t meet. In doing so, the agency said, Governor Andrew Cuomo will fulfill his goal of banning the use of coal at New York power plants by the end of 2020.

While the state has hailed the new emissions standards as key to combating climate change, others have warned that New York may face higher electricity prices as a result. The price of wholesale power for delivery to New York City in 2021 has climbed more than 25 percent since the state proposed the rules, underscoring the trade-offs for states looking to fight global warming.

The only way for New York’s last coal-fired facilities — the 655-megawatt Somerset power facility and the 155-megawatt Cayuga site in the Finger Lakes region — to comply with the new standards would be to invest in costly upgrades, switch to natural gas or shut down. Riesling Power, a Blackstone Group affiliate, purchased them both in 2016.

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