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Long Island Air Quality Shows Marked Improvement

New natural-gas-fired, combined-cycle power plants credited with helping clean the air we breathe
YAPHANK, NY  June 5, 2013  A recent report issued by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) provides dramatic confirmation of the environmental benefits that new “clean” power plants, similar to Caithness Long Island Energy Center (Caithness), bring to Long Island and the region. NYISO, a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk-electricity grid, has reported sharp reductions in emissions from newer power-generating facilities in New York in recent years. Caithness began commercial operations in Yaphank in August 2009.
The report states, “In New York State, the rate of power plant emissions of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has declined since 2000. The SO2 rates have seen the most dramatic decline by dropping more than 86 percent. NOx rates dropped more than 76 percent and CO2 rates dropped by 36 percent.”
Caithness provides nearly 20% of the electricity produced on Long Island and its emissions are less than half of that allowed by its air-emissions permit one of the strictest for any power plant operating in New York State. Caithness’s NOx levels are 50% below its permit requirement; its volatile organic compound (VOC) levels are 74% below its permit requirement; and its carbon monoxide (CO) emissions are 91% below its permit requirement.
Since becoming operational, Caithness has helped reduce the reliance on older power generators, many of which were built in the 1950s.
Separately, in December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency determined that the region has attained the PM-2.5 24-hour-particulate-matter standard under the Clean Air Act. This determination is based upon certified quality-controlled ambient-air monitoring data showing an improving trend in PM-2.5 concentrations that overlaps with the period in which Caithness became operational.
These significant improvements in Long Island’s air quality and the associated public-health benefits have resulted in large part from the construction of new natural-gas-fired power-generating facilities in the region, and the effect of relying less upon older, inefficient power plants, many of which have been operating for decades.
“There is often little good news for the environmental community in this area but, clearly, the lessening of our reliance on older units because of the availability of new natural gas-fired, combined-cycle units similar to Caithness has helped to dramatically clean up the air shed,” said Ross D. Ain, President, Caithness Long Island, LLC. “We are pleased that Caithness has been a meaningful contributor to the broader regional improvement in air quality, and that, as additional new clean-power-generation facilities lessen the reliance on older power plants, further reductions in emissions can be expected.”
About Caithness Long Island, LLC
Caithness Long Island, LLC, is a subsidiary of Caithness Energy, LLC, a privately held, New York-based independent power producer. For over 25 years, Caithness has been a pioneer in the development of clean, reliable energy. More information can be found at

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