Hydroelectric Power Plant to Provide for City

Cannonsville Dam. Image Credit: NYC DEP.

Cannonsville Dam. Image Credit: NYC DEP.

New hydroelectric power plant for City to be erected at reservoir in Cannonsville, NY. On September 16, 2014, Emily Lloyd, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, announced that a standing ninety five billion gallon reservoir one hundred and twenty miles northwest of New York City in Cannonsville, NY will be outfitted with four turbines to generate clean electric energy for the City. This is New York State’s largest hydroelectric project in two decades. According to a statement given by the DEP, the plant, costing the City approximately $72 million, is expected to produce revenue of $2 million each year as well as dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The initiative to utilize hydroelectric energy as a clean source of sustainable energy for the City began as part of the PlaNYC environmental resiliency program created by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and sustained by Mayor de Blasio’s administration. Daniel Zarrilli, acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, stated that “New York City is making significant strides to combat climate change and make our city more sustainable through the use of clean, renewable energy … [and] building this hydroelectric facility will further reduce the carbon footprint of the City by offsetting a significant portion of the carbon emissions produced by upstate DEP facilities, moving the City further toward its carbon reduction goals.”

The original goal of the PlaNYC program was to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and other sources by thirty percent by 2030. However, Mayor de Blasio recently announced that the City is committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eighty percent by 2050. According to the DEP, the plant in Cannonsville is projected to produce 14 megawatts of electric power, enough to power approximately 6,000 homes, while avoiding emission of 25,620 metric tons of greenhouse gasses annually.

The Environmental Law Division of the New York City Law Department worked vigorously to obtain federal regulatory approval for the plant, which required amongst other things detailed reports showing that the project will not affect endangered species or interrupt flow to various rivers as well as a list of all Native-American Tribes affected. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued the license to the DEP for the Cannonville project. Construction is set to begin in 2016.

Department of Environmental Protection to Build Hydroelectric Facility to Harness Clean, Renewable Energy Potential of Gravity-Fed Water Supply System. (September 16, 2014).

By: Sean Campell (Sean is a CityLaw Intern and a Student at New York Law School, Class of 2015).

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