Natural gas plant reps explain plans to Shoreham civics

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Bill Miller presents information about the proposed Tesla Generating Station on Wednesday night.

Representatives for a proposed natural gas-firing power plant at the site of the decomissioned Shoreham nuclear plant gave a presentation and took questions at a Shoreham Civic Association meeting this week.

Though principals from J-Power, the company planning to build the plant, were unable to attend the meeting, Bill Miller, vice president of contractor TRC Solutions, along with other J-Power partners, were guest speakers at the meeting held at Miller Avenue School.

J-Power’s proposed natural gas plant, named the Tesla Generating Station, is one of two finalists competing to build a power plant for the Long Island Power Authority.

The other competing plant is a proposed natural gas plant in Yaphank that would be run by the Caithniss energy company.

J-Power already operates a “peaker” station on the Shoreham site that is used during periods of high-demand to provide extra power to the grid, and currently is the third-largest energy producer on Long Island. The new plant would be located near that peaker plant, next to the decommissioned nuclear plant.

The Tesla Generating Station would burn natural gas to generate 400 megawatts and would be more efficient that any other power plant currently operating on Long Island, Mr. Miller said.

The site would also be able to burn fuel oil, but only if the natural gas supply to the station was interrupted, Mr. Miller said.

J-Power has proposed extending the Iroquois gas pipeline that runs under Long Island Sound from Connecticut into Shoreham to fuel the station, Mr. Miller said. The extended gas pipeline would be a “game-changer for all of us” by providing natural gas that would not only be used at the plant, but also for residential and commercial use.

Residents at the meeting questioned how the plant, specifically its two-year construction, would affect the environmental and quality of life for local residents. Mr. Miller said the company is doing an ambient noise survey to determine how much noise the plant makes now and ensure the noise doesn’t increase much because of construction.

Though many of the construction materials would be brought to the plant by sea, concrete, rebar and pipe would have to be trucked in, Mr. Miller said.

“It’s that truck traffic we have to address,” he said, adding that the company pledged to meet with any local residents around the area to address their concerns.

Mr. Miller admitted the plant would likely have to buy emission credits to off-set carbon pollution that came out of the station, but said the Tesla Generation Station would be a net positive for the region — because it would be running instead of less-efficient, more-polluting power plants, he said.

If approved by LIPA the plant would likely begin operations in mid-2017.

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