The Long Island Power Authority announced Wednesday afternoon that it will recommend two locations to its board of trustees as possible future sites for a new power plant.
The two sites being considered are in Yaphank and Shoreham, but the proposed site in Kings Park is no longer under consideration. LIPA Board Trustees will be asked to vote on moving forward with conducting negotiations for 20-year Purchase Power Agreements with both companies as it determines which one will offer the best value to Long Island customers.
LIPA issued a request for proposals approximately in August 2010, searching to build a new power plant to meet Long Island's growing power demand under its 2010-2020 Electric Resource Plan. There were 45 proposals submitted, including two in the Town of Smithtown area - one near Carlson's properties in Kings Park.
Nine months ago, LIPA whittled its list of potential sites down to six, including Carlson property in Kings Park by a Massachusetts-based company Competitive Power Ventures. The proposal suggested a 400 mega-watt natural-gas powered plant that would use ultra low sulfur distillate as a backup. It would cost $650 million to construct.
"We had recommended if there were power plants to be built, that it was the best location in Town of Smithtown," said Smithtown Planning Director Frank DeRubeis.
Surrounding towns such as Commack, Kings Park and Northport have rallied against having a power plant in the area, citing health concerns, protection of groundwater and the proximity to surrounding residential neighborhoods, including a school.
"I think there was stronger support for other applications," DeRubeis said. "I mean there were communities that went out and were more in support of those proposals then we were."
The Northport Village Board recently joined opposition to a proposed power plant on 14.4 acres in Kings Park citing environmental and health concerns, as well as the need to make use of existing facilities such as the Northport power plant. The village passed a resolution to reject the proposal.
"I am glad that its not going to be a problem," said Bruce Ettenberg, president of the Commack Civic Association. "We were not planning to be supportive of it. It would have been a big generator of air pollution and a lot of fuel being put on that site, with a lot more traffic up and down Townline Road."
The plant would have given Kings Park's tax base a boost.
"There is no alternative tax generator that would generate as much in revenue for the Kings Park school district," said DeRubeis. "A power plant would be a major source of taxes. Villages incorporate around power plants because they pay a high amount, such as the Village of Northport and the Village of Port Jefferson."
"The Kings Park Civic Association has stated from the beginning, as with any developing project, that if an application was filed to the town for a power plant that we would give the proposal a fair and honest review," said Sean Lehmann, president of the Kings Park Civic Association.
Two sites are being considered, but only one plant will be built. According to LIPA, J-Power, which is a subsidiary of Electric Power Development, has proposed to develop, own and operate a new 377 mega-watt natural gas-fired power plant in Shoreham on a site reserved by LIPA for a future generating plant. J-Power also owns four existing generation plants on Long Island, including one at Shoreham.
Caithness, which is a subsidiary of Caithness Energy, proposed to develop, own and operate a new 706 mega-watt natural-gas fired power plant in Yaphank. This new plant would be adjacent to its existing 326 MW power plant.
According to LIPA, the project developer would be responsible for obtaining permits for siting and building the project and would include an environmental review process conducted by state and local regulatory agencies, which involves public input. LIPA said it does not control the outcome of this process and that it is based on state and local permitting requirements.