The Camel’s Nose is Swatted Back: NiGen Denied Subsidies for Burning Contaminated Wood in New York

As described on this page on June 24, the Niagara Generation (NiGen) facility in Niagara Falls, New York, had made a bold assault on the definition of “clean” energy in New York State. While they are already receiving subsidies for burning supposedly “clean” construction and demolition debris (the “cleaning” takes place through a hand sorting process that anything but effective), they had petitioned the New York Public Service Commission to allow them to include up to 10% adulterated (glued) wood in their fuel stream, even though New York’s rules explicitly prohibit adulterated wood as eligible fuel under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.  It is worth noting that NiGen is one of the biggest polluters in an area of the state that already exceeds the EPA’s limits on several measures of toxic air pollution.

We were therefore pleased that on August 16 the New York Public Service Commission denied NiGen’s petition – and cited comments from PFPI in their decision.

In their petition, NiGen’s operators claimed they needed the subsidies for burning adulterated construction and demolition debris in order to be financially viable. (To be clear, they were already allowed to burn up to 30% of contaminated wood in their fuel stream; their petition additionally requested that they be subsidized for doing it). The NYPSC denial of NiGen’s petition throws the company back on their own devices. Stay tuned.

Partnership for Policy Integrity