Rise Light & Power Proposes Nation's First Renewable Repowering of Fossil Generation with Offshore Wind
Major Milestone for Renewable Ravenswood and Clean Energy Transformation Garners Strong Community Support
Rise Light & Power Secures Ownership Stake in Offshore Wind Project with Goal of Delivering 1.3GW of Clean Energy to Replace 1960's Fossil Generation
The Project will Deliver a Victory for New York Environmental Justice and Ensures a Just Transition for Ravenswood's Union Workforce
NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- At an event attended by dozens of local community leaders, Rise Light & Power, LLC (Rise) today announced a historic proposal in response to New York State's offshore wind solicitation which will be the nation's first renewable repowering of a major fossil-fuel plant with clean power from offshore wind. By securing an ownership stake in an offshore wind project, Rise Light & Power will be an integral part of an offshore wind proposal to be submitted to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on Thursday, January 26. The project takes advantage of, and will utilize, existing energy infrastructure at Rise's Long Island City's Ravenswood Generating Station—New York City's largest power generator. The project has strong community support for its goal to transition Ravenswood into a clean energy hub with a mature and cost-effective interconnection of renewable offshore wind energy into New York City.
"The renewable repowering of Ravenswood will serve as a model of how to work with communities and repurpose transmission infrastructure to save ratepayers money. The repowering of Ravenswood with offshore wind is a community-driven approach to invest in a disadvantaged community and support New York in meeting its clean energy and economic goals," said Clint Plummer, Chief Executive Officer of Rise Light & Power. "Importantly, the project commits to the just transition and upskilling of the Local 1-2 UWUA union workers at Ravenswood through training programs and job opportunities associated with the project."
"The union employees of Local 1-2 who have been proudly running Ravenswood for decades are ready to put their valuable expertise to work in operating new renewable energy infrastructure for New York," said Jim Shillitto, President of Utility Workers Union of America, Local 1-2. "We thank Rise for their commitment to our workers' inclusion in the new green economy. This proposal to interconnect offshore wind, responsibly transition fossil fuel generation, and build a new operations and maintenance hub has our full support."
In late 2022, Rise submitted an Article VII application requesting that the New York State Public Service Commission approve a submarine electric system – the Queensboro Renewable Express – to deliver offshore wind energy over transmission in New York State to Ravenswood. This project, combined with the ownership stake in an offshore wind project announced today, builds on that application by extending into Federal waters and connecting one of the two Queensboro Renewable Express 1,310 MW circuits to an offshore wind farm, which would lead directly to the retirement of one of the plant's 1960s era fossil fuel generators. This retirement is in addition to already retiring 500 MW of peakers at Ravenswood.
The renewable transmission project will reuse existing physical and electrical infrastructure, maximizing cost-effectiveness for New York ratepayers and minimizing the interconnection challenges that have plagued U.S. offshore wind developments. Additionally, the project will establish an offshore wind operations and maintenance hub at Ravenswood, which will support the opportunity for a just transition of the existing fossil fuel workforce as well as drive substantial economic investment into a historically underserved community.
The project would bring an HVDC conductor cable onshore at the existing Ravenswood site where it would interconnect via underground HVAC cables to the NYISO bulk electric system at existing substations adjacent to Ravenswood.
The renewable repowering of Ravenswood through an offshore wind project is a culmination of years of community and stakeholder engagement. Rise has worked extensively with historically marginalized groups, particularly its neighbors living nearby in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), to craft the Renewable Ravenswood vision, which will transform the 27-acre waterfront industrial site to a clean energy hub. Beyond the benefits for clean energy advocates and ratepayers with the delivery of offshore wind to the New York City grid utilizing existing transmission infrastructure, the broader Rise Light & Power platform is committed to providing essential services to New York with critical grid reliability.
Today's renewable repowering proposal drew praise from leading community, environmental justice, labor, business, and institutions from across New York City and New York State.
"America's first renewable repowering of a fossil-fuel burning plant can happen right here in Long Island City, Queens, home to the city's largest power generating facility. This project would greatly advance our state's climate goals and be a win for environmental justice communities living nearby," said U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-7). "I believe that the repowering of the Ravenswood Generating Station can serve as a model for the rest of the country as we work to cut our dependence on fossil fuels while also providing a just transition for residents and workers."
"As a climate organizer, I ran for office to ensure that we have a Green New York," said Senator Kristen Gonzalez. "I am thrilled to see Rise Light lead the way in transitioning to renewable energy, our district and our city will be better off for it. I am excited to work with them to support this new partnership."
"The announcement that Rise Light & Power is making today is just the kind of project that will lead our ciy and our state into a future energy system that is cleaner, more reliable, more resilient, and more affordable for all New Yorkers," said Senator Liz Krueger. "I am thrilled to have it in my backyard, so that all my constituents can breathe a little easier."
"For years, Astoria has had the worst air quality in Queens, has been home to much of the City's energy generation facilities, and we have seen the consequences in the asthma rates of our children. I am so happy that after tireless advocacy from so many, Western Queens and NYCHA are finally beginning to chart a different course and bring forth the bold, clean energy proposals that we deserve," said Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani. "In permanently retiring 400 MW of fossil fuel generation, this proposal to connect offshore wind to Ravenswood shows how we can transform our neighborhood from being the poster child of the climate crisis to an example of how we can build a better, and a greener, future. The work is by no means done, but I applaud this proposal and look forward to seeing many more like it."
"Queens is all too familiar with the devastating impacts of climate change, supercharged by our unchecked use of fossil fuels. From stronger storms flooding our communities to higher rates of asthma in Western Queens, the health of our neighborhoods has come under greater threat every day," said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. "But here in The World's Borough, we're leading New York State's clean energy transition. To that end, there are few projects with more seismic of an impact than transforming the Ravenswood Generating Station into a hub of renewable wind energy. Doing so will both put money back in the pockets of our families and keep our communities healthier for years to come."
"This offshore wind proposal does the right thing by the community and we look forward to it," said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of Urban Upbound. "For far too long the people of Long Island City, in particular Queensbridge, Ravenswood, and Astoria have been surrounded by industrial activity and power generation. This neighborhood supplies 45% of the city's power and has had to deal with the consequences for far too long. Today's announcement is a community-driven project which will help change that dynamic as part of a Renewable Ravenswood."
"Turning 'Asthma Alley' into a renewable energy corridor is a powerful statement that puts environmental justice at the forefront," said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. "A renewable repowering which removes the smokestacks of Big Allis and replaces them with offshore wind and other renewables will show the world that New York City values all of its residents regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. It will be a beacon that shows that the energy infrastructure of the future can be built with everyone in mind."
"When labor, community, and industry work together, we can achieve transformative change," said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN and a member of the Just Transition Working Group. "Renewable Ravenswood can serve as a national model for a just transition, retraining union utility workers for green, union jobs to ensure no worker is left behind; investing in environmental justice for some of our most impacted neighborhoods; and building on New York's nation-leading climate goals with an ambitious path forward for our clean energy economy."
"Retiring polluting infrastructure like the fossil generation at the Ravenswood power plant is a huge priority for the Sierra Club and a win for clean air, public health, and the fight to combat climate change. Projects and partnerships like this that maximize the opportunities created by new offshore wind development to ensure the phase-out of gas generation while ensuring a just transition at the site are a model for New York's energy transition," said Allison Considine, Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club.
"I am excited to stand with other members of the Astoria community in support of the vision of Renewable Ravenswood," said Costa Constantinides, CEO of Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens. "Renewable Ravenswood can be a transformational moment for Western Queens looking to bring over 1400 mw of clean renewable energy to a community that has been for decades overburdened with fossil fuel infrastructure. Western Queens is the future for renewable energy replacing Asthma Alley with Renewable Row and this announcement today moves us towards a cleaner, greener community!"
"Today's announcement marks a significant milestone for Long Island City's role in the green economy of the future," said Laura Rothrock, President of Long Island City Partnership. "Bringing offshore wind energy to Queens will deliver wins for the environment and economy, further cementing this neighborhood as a hub of innovation."
"The Renewable Ravenswood plan will profoundly impact the residents of Western Queens, especially those living in the public housing communities of Queensbridge, Astoria, and Ravenswood Houses, providing much-needed health and economic benefits. Through key partnerships and community investment, the plan will positively affect many other front-line communities facing the threat of climate change and environmental justice issues exacerbated by fossil fuel generation plants," said Alex Zablocki, Executive Director, Fund for Public Housing. "The Fund for Public Housing looks forward to partnering with Rise Light & Power to ensure future community investment programs uplift and lead to more sustainable public housing communities."
"As Trust for Public Land works to make New York greener so that more neighborhoods have the benefits of open space and trees, through projects such as creating a Community Schoolyard™ at PS 111Q with the support of Rise Light & Power, we are encouraged to see this partnership to deliver offshore wind energy to Ravenswood Generating Station to improve air quality in local neighborhoods and to help New York State meet its CLCPA goals" said Carter Strickland, Vice President Mid-Atlantic Region, New York State Director.
"Western Queens, including tens of thousands of NYCHA residents, has been unjustly burdened by power plants located in our backyard for decades," said Corinne Haynes-Wood, President of NYCHA Queensbridge Residents Association. "We've been eagerly awaiting Rise Light & Power's next steps with its Renewable Ravenswood vision and are extremely supportive of their new partnership to bring offshore wind energy here. Our community deserves clean air and we will do everything we can to support this plan."
"Until Rise Light & Power started speaking to us about Renewable Ravenswood, we thought our community would never find a partner willing to work together with the community to build a clean energy future," said Carol Wilkins, President of NYCHA Ravenswood Residents Association. "Rise's proposal to connect offshore wind to our neighborhood means we are getting that much closer to seeing the future we've been demanding for decades."
"NYCHA is proud to be part of the discussion about our energy future with Rise Light & Power," said Vanessa Jones-Hall, President of NYCHA Astoria Residents Association. "We couldn't be happier to see the progress Rise Light & Power is making by bringing in an offshore wind partner to support Renewable Ravenswood, a plan expected to bring new job opportunities and cleaner and healthier air for our Western Queens NYCHA residents which will also benefit many future generations."
"Any renewable energy transition plan must have environmental justice as a top priority for both developers and policy-makers," said Ann Cotton Morris, President of NYCHA Queens District & NYCHA Woodside Residents Association. "We continue to believe Rise Light & Power will make Renewable Ravenswood a reality and bring clean heating for our homes, workforce development and clean electricity to our neighborhood."
"Renewable Ravenswood is, at its core, an environmental justice plan," said Lynn Spivey, President of the NAACP NYCHA Branch. "This project will help create real economic opportunities for New Yorkers living in NYCHA and will address environmental injustice that we have endured for generations. I look forward to the day this project moves forward and hope it is the first of many."
"As I've said before, clean energy in Western Queens is more than just publicity – this is real life. I am proud to see the changes being proposed as a result of my community's advocacy, and thank Rise Light & Power for their partnership," said Claudia Coger, NYCHA Astoria. "Our children deserve to grow up in a world that is healthy and safe for them."
"Rise has shown themselves to be a dedicated partner to Western Queens since taking over Ravenswood Generating," said April Simpson, Community Advocate. "By proposing Renewable Ravenswood, they have heard our call for a cleaner environment and bold investments in our community. This offshore wind proposal is a major step towards achieving that vision and we look forward to its success."
"The South Bronx is a frontline community grappling with the effects of climate change while also confronting pervasive environmental inequity," said Maria Torres, President & COO, The POINT CDC. "We are the host community for 4 NYPA Peakers of our own and fossil fuel plant emissions from western Queens drift across the East River into our neighborhoods, our parks, and our schoolyards. So we have a real stake in ending fossil fuel generation across the region and we are proud to have played a role in helping to pass the CLCPA and activate the solutions that will ultimately help us replace plants like Ravenswood with clean energy hubs. We applaud the efforts of EJ advocates in The Bronx and Queens who have worked in good faith with Rise Light to bring us to this day and hope that Rise Light's offshore wind project becomes a model for other communities seeking to close power plants while rebuilding local economies."
"The Staten Island Urban Center is pleased to be a part of Rise's Offshore Wind project to replace city fossil fuel generation with green renewable wind energy and to provide family sustaining green jobs in communities where they are most needed, helping to help lift the banner for environmental justice," said Kelly Vilar, CEO of Staten Island Urban Center.
About Rise Light & Power
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