Nonprofit ACSF proposes $460MM plan for retirement of GenOn coal-fired plant

Source: American Clean Skies Foundation 

Potomac River Site Before and After The American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), a Washington D.C. nonprofit, has released a $460 million plan for transforming the waterfront site of the coal-fired Potomac River Generating Station (PRGS) on the north end of Alexandria, VA into an environmentally friendly mixed-use community.

The reals estate development plan, dubbed “Potomac River Green,” was initiate by Gregory C. Staple ACSF’s Chief Executive, and reflects the year-long involvement of a team of architects, urban planners, financial advisers and utility consultants as well as extensive consultation with leading real estate developers, community, business and environmental groups.

“The Potomac power plant is no longer required to meet the D.C. area’s electricity needs and pollution from the plant has long posed a local health hazard, “ Staple said. “But until now, no road map existed for phasing out this 60-year old power plant and redeveloping the 25-acre site.”

He continued: “Our plan shows that redevelopment is both feasible and affordable. Potomac River Green will create hundreds of jobs; produce millions in new tax revenues; open up the waterfront to the public; integrate with Alexandria’s existing plans; and provide an example for green development of old power plant sites next door to the nation’s capital.” 

Potomac River Green- Returning the waterfront and revitalizing the community

Potomac River Green plan features: 

•89,600 square feet of office space and 114,500 square feet of retails restaurants 

•467 multi-family and 96 family townhouse units 

•The office space will include Clean Energy Enterprise Center to incubate alternative energy and new technology businesses, with space for support programs, venture capital and consulting services 

•A working Energy Museum that will demonstrate 21st century energy technologies 

•A 125-room boutique hotel 

•A compressed natural gas (CNG) and fast charge electric car refueling station for government, commercial fleet and individual vehicles 

•Enhanced access to water taxis and mass transit to facilitate public access to the rebuilt site 

•Recreation and open space that will tie Dangerfield Island, a nearby federal park, into the Alexandria waterfront through new recreation space and eco-trail system

The plan calls for numerous energy efficient building techniques, including crushed brick from the plant in the concrete paths, streets and gardens. In addition, the brick and steel framing from the existing power plant would be used in commercial property. All construction will be LEED certified with maximized use of green space through community gardens. 

Providing significant economic and environmental benefits to Alexandria

ACSF’S plan for the Potomac River green was shaped by leading urban, design and sustainable development consultants, including the Atlanta-based architectural firm, Copper Carry, and Virginia-based RKG Associates, an economic and fiscal adviser.

The development is estimated to cost approximately $450 million and will create significant positive economic, tax and environmental impacts including: 

•Over $1.53 billion in new direct spending throughout the Washington region between 20125 and 2024 

•A net positive fiscal impact of $27 million to the City of Alexandria over ten years based on total projected tax revenue of $72.1 million. (By comparison, in 2010 the Potomac River plant site generated approximately $2.5 million in taxes.) 

•Total municipal and public service expenditures for PRG are projected to be $42.1 million over the 10-year period. About two-thirds of this is attributable to the approximately 590 new housing units.
Non-residential uses are projected to require $10.9 million in municipal services over a 10-year period. 

•Taking into account remediation, site development and commercial operation at the project will create more than 2,200 jobs (as compared to roughly 150 jobs at the power plant today).

Potomac River Green Artist Rendition The PRGS is owned and operated by Houston-based GenOn Energy Inc. using land leased from Pepco. The plant is more than 60 years old, lacks critical emission controls, operates at 20 percent capacity, and is no longer needed for electric reliability purposes in the Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas.

The ACSF’a plan for the Potomac River green contemplates transfer of the power plant site to private developers after the facility is retires and demolished by GenOn. The City of Alexandria and state environmental officials would oversee the site remediation process in cooperation with Pepco, which currently holds the ground lease for the property and is expected to keep an electrical substation on a portion of the site. 

This is one of the largest undivided pieces of property along the Potomac in Alexandria,” Staple said. “And out financial analysis indicates that a buy-out opportunity exists because the site is now worth much more for new development than it is for the operating an aging coal plant.”

Moreover, added Staple, “This plant has been listed as an impaired asset by GenOn in its most recent 10-K, which suggests that it I underperforming and may not justify further investment to meet the type of stricter pollution controls the EPA has recently proposed. By contrast, the Potomac Green Plan could provide the company some upside and would free it from years of potential environmental litigation over the plant’s continued operation.”



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