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Caithness LI Energy Center Marks 6th Year of Operation; Has Saved LI Ratepayers More Than $235 million in fuel costs, while helping the environment

Yaphank power plant is the region’s cleanest, most energy efficient, most water-conserving plant; conserves enough natural gas to heat the equivalent of 95,000 L.I. homes 
YAPHANK, NY  August 17, 2015  Long Island’s most modern, efficient and cleanest burning power plant on Long Island, the Caithness Long Island Energy Center (Caithness), has saved Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) ratepayers more than $235 million in fuel costs since beginning commercial operations in August 2009. The savings are based on fuel costs LIPA would have incurred had it relied solely upon the existing fleet of power plants, which were built in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and formerly owned by the now-defunct Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). Caithness has also reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2.5 million tons, saving LIPA ratepayers more than $7.8 million in emissions credit costs based upon emissions LIPA would have incurred had it relied solely upon its existing fleet of power plants.
Utilizing technologically advanced combined-cycle generation, the 350-megawatt (MW), natural gas-fueled plant in Yaphank produces more than 20 percent of the electricity generated on Long Island. Caithness’s efficient operations save enough natural gas each year to heat the equivalent of 95,000 homes on Long Island. Its 99 percent equivalent availability rate to LIPA to generate power when needed, coupled with its demonstrated cost-savings, makes Caithness the first plant to be called upon to generate power when needed. And, by using Caithness more frequently, and relying on older plants less, fewer emissions are produced, helping in the fight against global warming, and cleaning Long Island’s air shed.
The Caithness Long Island Energy Center consistently operates well below its air permit limits, which are among the most stringent in the United States. Data submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reveal that, compared to the old, inefficient plants on Long Island, Caithness produces 98 percent less carbon monoxide (CO), 80 percent less nitrogen oxide (NOx), and 77 percent fewer particulates. Reports by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that the rates of power-plant emissions have dropped over the past 15 years, and that, in 2012, the EPA determined that the region had attained the PM-2.5 24-hour-particulate-matter ambient air quality standard; this coincided with the period in which Caithness began producing electric power on Long Island.
The only air-cooled power plant on Long Island, Caithness does not rely on extracting billions of gallons of water from Long Island’s aquifers, the prime supply of drinking water in Nassau and Suffolk counties. And, unlike the older power plants on Long Island, Caithness does not draw and return vast amounts of water from the Long Island Sound or South Shore bays, which has been found to cause severe environmental damage, including thermal water pollution, and extremely high fish, and fish egg, mortality rates.
“The Caithness Long Island Energy Center continues to provide Long Island’s electric ratepayers with sizable fuel savings, while providing equally substantial environmental benefits in the form of greatly reduced air emissions,” stated Ross Ain, President of Caithness Long Island, LLC. “Long Island must end its reliance on old, inefficient and unreliable plants, and begin an immediate transition to clean, modern power generation, which the planned 750-MW Caithness II plant will provide.”
Caithness II, which has many of the environmental and municipal approvals required to begin construction, was selected by LIPA in 2013 for its value to Long Island ratepayers and the environment. It is a combined-cycle 750-MW natural gas-fired plant that will be built adjacent to the exiting Caithness facility in Yaphank. PSEG-Long Island (PSEG-LI) recommended that the project be put on hold in August 2014. Caithness II has widespread support from environmental, business, government and labor leaders, and is expected to save ratepayers in excess of $192 million in annual electricity costs, in addition to creating significant environmental and economic benefits.
Some highlights of Caithness Long Island Energy Center’s operations include the following:

  • Caithness is highly reliable, posting a 99 percent equivalent availability rate to LIPA to generate power when needed.
  • In 2014, Caithness produced more energy than any other unit on Long Island.
  • Due to its high efficiency, Caithness has saved LIPA’s ratepayers more than $235 million in fuel and other costs since 2009.
  • 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 45 percent below permit levels
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are 74 percent below permit levels
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions are 94 percent below permit levels
  • The air-cooled Caithness facility consumed an average of 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, and 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 is proud to continue its trend-setting environmental performance levels, while offering optimal and reliable service and fuel savings to LIPA and its ratepayers,” said Mr. Ain. “We are confident that, in addition to continuing these trends, we will exponentially exceed them with the advent of the Caithness II plant.”
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
Contact: Don Miller
West End Strategies, Ltd.

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