Fighting a Zombie Power Plant: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

When a proposal to re-power a retired coal-fired power plant with fracked gas came to light, Creating Change swung into action on behalf of We Are Seneca Lake. The company’s petitions to the Public Service Commission were evaluated, strategy created in coalition with other concerned groups, and talking points developed. Action alerts went out, and over 150 people turned out at a weekday night public hearing in a sleepy little town in upstate NY to oppose the facility.

Lindsay Speer speaking at Greenidge facility press conference
“Greenidge provides no evidence of a public need or economic feasibility for this facility,” Speer said. “Upstate New York has twice the energy capacity […] as our demand. […] There is no need for this facility, and absolutely no need to build another natural gas pipeline to power it. To do so only commits us to further use of fracked gas from Pennsylvania and additional contributions of methane to climate change.” – Observer-Review
Over 150 people attended to oppose the repowering of the Greenidge power plant

Creating Change also wrote the comments to the Public Service Commission on behalf of We Are Seneca Lake.

What we see at work here is a grassroots movement that is deeply concerned about not just the local environment, but the contributions of local projects to climate change. These projects are an opportunity to act locally to do what we can to reduce our collective climate impact. This phenomenon is occurring nationwide, if not worldwide.

Currently, the Greenidge facility has zero emissions.  While methane burns cleaner than coal, it is still a fossil fuel. Re-powering the plant with natural gas will not only add to carbon dioxide emissions, but methane is 86x more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, according to the IPCC. Methane leaks during drilling and transportation at a significant rate which has been traditionally under-reported, an issue we need to consider when creating energy policy or deciding on individual projects.

New York State is working to lead the country in renewable energy policy and development. Bringing this power plant back from the dead makes it harder to meet the Governor’s Reforming Our Energy Vision goals.

 

 

 

 

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