New York cogen plant to close as REC contract expires

A cogeneration plant in New York state is set to close after its contract to sell renewable energy certificates (RECs) to the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) expires. 

ReEnergy’s 22 MW biomass-fired plant (pictured) in Lyonsdale will shut down on 29 December after coming online in 1992. It currently supplies process steam to the adjacent Twin Rivers paper mill and its ash by-product is used by local farmers as fertilizer.

According to a statement from ReEnergy, the closure will affect the local economy. The company has spent around $6.6m per year to buy biomass fuel from local loggers, “thus providing a year-round market for their otherwise low-value wood products”.  

In late November there was a forced outage at the plant due to equipment failure. ReEnergy subsequently decided that it was “not prudent to invest in the significant repair cost in light of the expiring REC contract”.

In September the company filed a request with the New York State Public Service Commission for a six-month extension of its REC contract and an additional 30-month extension at a higher price. A decision is not expected before January.

In the meantime, “the facility needs to be able to monetize its renewable energy attributes in order to be financially viable,” ReEnergy said.

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