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LIPA picks two new natural gas power plants for Long Island, NY

By: Reuters |

New York’s Long Island Power Authority picked two proposals to build new natural gas-fired power plants on Long Island by 2018 to help meet the state-owned utility’s growing demand for electricity.

The LIPA board of trustees voted on Thursday to authorize staff to begin negotiating with J-Power USA, a unit of Japanese power company Electric Power Development Co Ltd, and privately held U.S. power company Caithness Energy, LIPA said in a release.

LIPA, which serves 1.1 million customers, issued a request for proposals in 2010 seeking new or repowered resources to help meet Long Island’s growing energy demand. The company had received 45 proposals from 16 entities by March 2011.

LIPA said the projects had the potential to create 700 to 1,300 construction jobs and up to 30 permanent jobs once complete.

In addition, LIPA said the new plants would allow the company to repower National Grid PLC’s 388-megawatt Port Jefferson natural gas and oil-fired steam plant, which entered service in the 1950s and 1960s.

One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.

Caithness proposed to build a 706-MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant in Yaphank at the site of its existing 326-MW combined cycle gas plant. Yaphank is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of New York City.

J-Power proposed a 377-MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant in Shoreham, about 75 miles east of New York City, on a site owned by LIPA.

Both Caithness and J-Power proposed to sell the entire output of their new plants to LIPA under 20-year power purchase agreements with in-service dates of May 1, 2017.

Separately, LIPA said it would seek additional supplies of renewable energy, including offshore wind, for up to 280 MW of capacity by 2018.

Privately held Deepwater Wind has offered to sell power to LIPA from a wind farm it plans to build off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and that will be connected to New England and New York via underwater transmission cables.

LIPA said it would continue to work with state-owned generating company New York Power Authority and New York power company Consolidated Edison Inc to pursue a federal lease for a 350-700 MW offshore wind farm off New York City.

Deepwater Wind and others have proposed to build an offshore wind farm there. Deepwater said it would connect its project to both New Jersey and New York.