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City & State

Energy Highway To Queens


A coalition of elected officials and environmental, labor, community and business groups have joined forces with NRG Energy in an effort to replace the company's Astoria power plant with a cleaner, more productive and more efficient facility, and they're hoping for a boost from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new "energy highway" initiative.

This week the new Smart Power NY coalition called on Cuomo to back the repowering project, which has the regulatory green light but has been stalled by a lack of funding. Beyond simply endorsing the project, the coalition wants the governor to prod the New York Power Authority into signing a long-term contract to buy NRG's energy, which would allow the company to secure funding to rebuild its plant.

Queens Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, the coalition chair, doesn't anticipate opposition from the governor. "I think this is a project that really mirrors the goal that he has set for producing cleaner, more efficient energy here in New York State," Simotas said. "If it's a project the governor's task force accepts and thinks is a good thing, then it will be much easier to get the (power purchase agreement), and obviously you need that in order to finance the project."