New York Is Killing Off Its Last Coal-Fired Power Plants

(Bloomberg) -- New York has adopted a rule to eventually kill off its last two coal-fired power plants.

The state’s environmental regulator said Thursday that it had finalized regulations requiring all power generators to meet new carbon-dioxide emissions limits that are nearly impossible for coal plants to hit. In doing so, the agency said, Governor Andrew Cuomo will fulfill his goal of banning New York power plants from burning coal by the end of 2020.

While the state has hailed the new emissions standards as key to combating climate change, others have warned New York may face higher electricity prices as a result. The price of wholesale power for delivery to New York City in 2021 has climbed more than 25% since the state proposed the rules, underscoring the trade offs for states trying to fight global warming.

New York Is Killing Off Its Last Coal-Fired Power Plants

New York has also proposed rules to limit nitrogen oxide from generators that kick in when demand for power peaks. The two regulations will help the state reach its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and shift to 100% clean electricity by 2040.

The last coal-fired plants running in New York are the 655-megawatt Somerset plant west of Rochester and the 155-megawatt Cayuga facility in the Finger Lakes region. The only way for them to comply with the new standards would be to invest in costly upgrades, switch to natural gas or shut down. Riesling Power, a Blackstone Group affiliate, purchased them both in 2016.

Blackstone didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, financially supports the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which seeks to retire U.S. coal-fired plants.)

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