GE consulting claims Caithness II plant would save hundreds of millionsStaff writer ▼ | April 18, 2015
General Electric Energy Consulting called into question PSEG Long Island's (PSEG-LI) decision to postpone construction of the Caithness Long Island II power plant (Caithness II).
New York Improving air quality and reducing energy import
General Electric analyzed Caithness II using the industry-leading GE MAPS (Multi Area Production Simulation) software application to estimate the Long Island, New York State and regional electricity cost impacts, environmental impacts, and system impacts of the 750-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired plant.
The report concluded that due to its high efficiency, Caithness II is expected to save Long Island an average of $192 million annually or over a billion dollars in wholesale energy costs over the first six full years of operation under the Caithness proposal that LIPA previously selected in its 2010 Request for Proposals.
This savings is significantly more than the fixed costs LIPA would pay Caithness II under that proposal. Therefore, Caithness II provides immediate net cost savings to ratepayers. Ratepayer savings will be approximately 1% of current bills.
In fact, the GE study estimated significant wholesale energy cost savings to the entire New York downstate area stemming from the operation of Caithness II.
Annual NOx emissions from electric power generation are estimated to decrease by about 23% on Long Island and 8% in New York State.
Annual SOx emissions from power plants are estimated to decrease by about 37% on Long Island and 22% in New York State.
Emissions of CO2 from power generation are estimated to go down one million tons per year in the Northeast.
Therefore, Caithness II is estimated to have a positive effect on regional air quality and to significantly reduce emissions which contribute to climate change.
The report shows that the electricity generated by Caithness II is estimated to displace energy generated by higher cost and less efficient generating units on Long Island, in New Jersey and Connecticut and that imports of electricity from New Jersey and Connecticut are estimated to be reduced by an average of 25%.
According to data published by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), currently, approximately 50% of Long Island's energy comes in on cables from off-island sources including the markets in New Jersey and Connecticut which are supplied in great measure by plants owned and operated by PSEG.
Caithness II would require minimal new transmission upgrades to reliably deliver electricity, according to recent NYISO studies and confirmed by the Energy Initiatives Group (EIG), a leading electric power consulting company.
Caithness II is a 750-MW, natural gas-fired power plant that will employ combined cycle electric generation and air-cooled technology. The project will create more than 500 construction jobs, resulting in payroll and benefits of nearly $200 million for local workers, according to General Electric Energy Consulting. ■