After a lengthy study and public comment period, the New York State Public Service Commission announced today that the two new vaporizers that National Grid planned to add to its Greenpoint facility were not currently necessary, ultimately thwarting the energy conglomerate’s plan to get cost recovery from its customers.
The Commission’s decision falls in line with the recommendation made by an independent assessment study last year. This study found that the vaporizers were not yet needed, though the project might have more relevance in a few years, depending on natural gas demand.
This is welcome news to several local community groups, who vocally opposed the project from the start (the Commission notes that they received over a thousand comments concerning the vaporizers).
“Our community has spent more than three years demanding that state agencies do their job,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project, which filed a lawsuit along with New York City Housing Authority’s Cooper Park Resident Council against New York State and National Grid over the proposed project. “We must take serious action on climate, and prioritize our communities’ health and economies and our ecosystem over the profits of CEO’s and shareholders. We will escalate if National Grid tries this again. We will stop this toxic company once and for all, and move New York to renewable public power for everyone.”
National Grid has claimed that the two new vaporizers, which house liquified natural gas (LNG) are needed to meet demand on the coldest of days, but they also noted during a hearing last September that the vaporizers would essentially act as a backup for the six vaporizers already present. While National Grid won’t be able to make back everything it has spent so far, the Commission noted that “The Brooklyn Union Gas Company, a subsidiary of National Grid, could recover the $10.5 million in design, engineering, permitting, and the costs of the independent consulting company, but not the remaining $38.8 million in other costs incurred to date.”
Now, the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) must make a final decision regarding the project’s air permit. Considering the DEC’s chronic delay in their decision-making (they’ve postponed their decision six times since National Grid first applied for a permit in May 2020), it’s high time that the agency weighs in.