Â Yaphank power plant marks fifth successful year of saving ratepayers millions in fuel costs while improving regional air quality and lessening the effects of global warmingÂ
YAPHANK, NYÂ November 6, 2014Â Â Since commencing commercial operation in August 2009, theÂ Caithness Long Island Energy CenterÂ (Caithness) has saved Long Island ratepayers approximately $203 million in fuel costs, while greatly improving the region’s air quality. The 350-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle, natural-gas-fueled power plant now generates more than 20 percent of all of the electricity produced on Long Island, and remains the region’s most economical, clean and water-conserving base-load power generating plant. The calculated savings are based on fuel costs the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) would have otherwise incurred if the Caithness plant was not available. The amount of fuel saved each year as a result of the Caithness facility’s operation, is equal to that which would be used in more than 95,000 Long Island homes each year.
Because of the highly efficient nature of the combined-cycle generation it employs, Caithness, rather than the region’s older, less efficient plants (many of which were built in the 1950s and ’60s), is the plant most often called upon to produce electricity. Its efficiency level has yielded significant fuel savings and fuel-cost savings, which are passed on to LIPA’s customers. And, by using the older plants less frequently, fewer emissions enter Long Island’s air shed, which helps in the fight against global warming.
A 2012 report issued by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) confirms that the rates of power-plant emissions have declined since 2000. Statewide, the rate of sulfur dioxide (SO2) has seen the sharpest decline, dropping by 86 percent since 2000, while rates of nitrogen oxide (NO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) have dropped 76 percent and 36 percent, respectively. And, in December 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that Long Island attained healthy air quality related to particulate-matter (PM 2.5), coinciding with the period in which Caithness became operational.
“The economic and environmental benefits that the Caithness Long Island Energy Center has brought to Long Island since becoming operational in 2009 are considerable,” said Ross D. Ain, President of Caithness Long Island, LLC. “And, because of its low emission rates, Caithness will play a significant role in helping New York to meet the statewide standards for reducing power-plant emissions that were proposed by the EPA earlier this year.”
Some of the significant highlights of Caithness’s operations since 2009:
- Caithness is highly reliable, posting more than a 99-percent equivalent availability factor, meaning it is available to serve Long Island virtually every hour of the year, except when down for scheduled maintenance.
- In 2013, Caithness produced more energy than any other unit on Long Island under contract to LIPA.
- Due to its high efficiency, Caithness has saved Long Island’s ratepayers more than $200 million in fuel costs, more than $40 million per year.
- Long Island’s ratepayers have saved $40 million in property taxes because Caithness is qualified under the Empire Zones program.
- Caithness has also saved Long Island ratepayers millions of dollars of regional greenhouse gas costs because of its significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than would have been produced by other Long Island plants.
- Caithness’s air emissions are less than half of the amount allowed by its air permit, which is one of the strictest for any power plant operating in New York State.
- Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is 46 percent below permit levels
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are 74 percent below permit levels
- Carbon monoxide (CO) levels are 91 percent below permit levels
- The air-cooled Caithness facility consumed an average of less than 17 gallons of water per minute, while providing 10 percent of the electricity used on Long Island, making it the region’s most water-conserving plant.
- Safety is a top priority there have been no lost-time accidents since the Caithness plant began operation in August 2009.
- In 2011, Caithness received the first ever “Clean Energy Award” from Vision Long Island, the region’s smart-growth-planning organization.
“Caithness continues to provide the best possible service to LIPA and its ratepayers, while upholding its pledge to be a good environmental steward and a contributing member of the Long Island community,” concluded Mr. Ain.
In June 2014, Caithness once again distributed $25,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors at Longwood, Bellport and Patchogue-Medford high schools, a practice that began in 2007, before Caithness started commercial operations. Since its inception, the Caithness Scholarship program has distributed more than $225,000 to 185 students interested in furthering their studies in engineering, science or the environment at the college level. Caithness continues to be a good corporate citizen, actively supporting numerous charities and community-based initiatives in the Town of Brookhaven, and on Long Island.
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 atÂ www.caithnesslongisland.com.