New Steam Plant for Vinegar Hill


    We’re not sure how big a deal this is, or if it’s any deal at all, but it was news to us and the reader who sent it in sure was steamed about it so we thought we’d throw it out there. After several years of submitting proposals (and pushing back on suggestions from the State that it construct a cogeneration plant), Con Ed finally gained approval from the New York Public Service Commission last December to build a new steam generating plant on a 1.14-acre site it owns on Marshall Street between Hudson and Gold Streets in Vinegar Hill; the company has a total footprint along the waterfront of 13 acres. Here’s a description from the Environmental Assessment Form: “Con Edison’s preliminary design concept for the project is to replicate the current steam generating capacity of the existing four low pressure (LP) boilers (Nos. 71, 72, 81 and 82) at the Hudson Avenue Generating Station with four new package boilers with a combined net steam send out of up to approximately 1,600,000 lb/hr. The existing LP boilers will be retired in place after the installation of the new boilers. There is no associated electric power generation under the proposed action.” From the plans, it looks like the new boilers would be housed inside a new 24,192-square-foot building (schematic on the jump) on the 1.14-acre site; the four boilers would use over 5 million gallons of water a day. In terms of zoning use and size, the project appears to be as-of-right under M3-1. Based on a Hearing document from the State Public Services Commission, the City had concerns about the costs of the project and wanted to explore proposals from other “merchant developers,” but that the State agreed with Con Ed that the process, which had been going on since 2006, had taken long enough and that Con Ed should get the go-ahead. The State also accepted Con Ed’s arguments that cogeneration would be more expensive than the boiler option. We’re in over our head on this one already, but here’s how our tipster felt when he learned the news:

    It troubles me in a number of ways, but I am also burned because if you read the hearing decision it states that the community was notified of Con-Ed’s desire to replace the Hudson Avenue Generating Station, etc. and no one from the community came forward to put in any objections. What!? I live in this community and I never read/heard of this proposal. I found out about this only because I was bored and decided do some internet trolling. So what happens now?

    Is anyone familiar enough with how these things work or the cogeneration issue to comment?

    Update: We’ve embedded both documents on the jump.


    Con Ed Long Environmental Assessment Form 7/15/09

    NYSPC Hearing

    What's Happening