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Letter: Too Late To Save Power Plant

It’s time for a reality check on Karin Barnaby’s on-line campaign to “Save the Glenwood Power Plant” demanding that “full consideration” be given to ways that the building can be re-used. Ms. Barnaby ignores the fact that full consideration to saving the power plant has already been given, the report has been written and published and various alternatives to demolition have been considered. The conversion of the building to a modern multipurpose facility will cost about $100,000,000.


So, unless there is someone out there with a spare $100 million and feels this would be an attractive business proposition, it isn’t going to happen. People should go back to doing something productive like looking for $10 million to take out of the school budget; if they don’t want their taxes to go through the roof.


Last April, National Grid submitted a 123 page report “Alternative Use Analysis Glenwood Power Station No. 2” prepared by The Louis Berger Group of Albany. The report is an extensive and detailed outline of the present physical condition of the power plant as well as cost analysis of different options for the plant’s future; including conversion into a 150,000 square foot multi-purpose building containing office space, condos, retail and restaurant space, a marina and public walkway over the water. A wonderful idea but it will cost more than $100 million.


The “Alternative Use Analysis” as well as a “Historic American Buildings Survey” of the Power Station are part of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) of the

Glenwood Overhead 69KV Transmission Line Relocation and Glenwood Power Station Decommissioning and Demolition Project done for National Grid and distributed last April.

The primary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for this project was released in June 2012. It is on-line and, for those who read it, makes clear that a supplement would deal with alternatives to demolition; a legal requirement since the site has been determined to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. I got the supplement by simply calling and asking for it. 


The brick building, Power Station No. 2, has not produced electrical power in 32 years and looking at photos of the current state of the building, it’s hard to figure out why it hasn’t already fallen down. The years and the harbor have not been kind to the brick façade or the internal structure.


Built in 1954, Power Station No. 3, the units to the south with the two yellow brick stacks, has a capacity of 210 megawatts. The Station is cooled by water from the harbor and restrictions from the federal Clean Water Act have increasingly limited the use of the Station to generate electricity. In 2001 it operated at 43 percent of capacity and in 2005 at only 11.2 percent of capacity. The station could only legally operate at 15 percent of capacity or 31.5 megawatts.


The next few years will not be easy for anyone – but our problems will not be solved by imaginings that have no foundation in hard facts. 


Sally Sotirovich