Danskammer Generating Station

Danskammer Generating Station is located on the shore of the Hudson River in the Town of Newburgh, New York, United States, 0.5 miles (0.8 km) upstream of the larger oil-fired Roseton Generating Station. Danskammer 'units 1 and 2 burn natural gas as a primary fuel, and oil as a backup fuel (72 and 73.5 MWe nameplate capacity), whereas units 3 and 4 are exclusively fired with natural gas (147.1 and 239.4 MWe nameplate capacity).[1]

Danskammer Generating Station
Danskammer Generating Station.JPG
A view of the Danskammer Generating Station in Newburgh, NY as seen from a train travelling on the other side of the Hudson River.
CountryUnited States
LocationNewburgh, NY
Coordinates41°34′22″N 73°57′53″W / 41.57278°N 73.96472°W / 41.57278; -73.96472Coordinates: 41°34′22″N 73°57′53″W / 41.57278°N 73.96472°W / 41.57278; -73.96472
Commission dateUnit 1 (RFO/gas): Dec. 1951
Unit 2 (RFO/gas): Sep. 1954
Unit 3 (coal/gas): Oct. 1959
Unit 4 (coal/gas): Sep. 1967
Units 5,6 (DFO): Jan. 1967 (decommissioned)
Owner(s)Danskammer Energy, LLC
Thermal power station
Primary fuelNatural gas
Cooling sourceHudson River
Power generation
Nameplate capacity537 MWe (nameplate)
502 MWe (winter)

The station was built by Central Hudson Gas & Electric in the 1950s, and sold to Dynegy in 2001 as part of electricity deregulation. Dynegy sold the plant to Helios Power Capital, LLC in 2013, who in turn sold it to Mercuria Energy Group; Mercuria is planning to sell it to Tiger Infrastructure and Agate Power by the end of 2017. As of 2018, it is owned by Danskammer Energy, LLC. In 2018, Danskammer Energy filed an application with the New York State Public Service Commission to build a new, larger plant uphill of the current site which would be a more efficient combined cycle facility with an air cooled condenser to reduce water draw,[2] and which would run as a baseload station (able to run all the time), rather than a peaker plant (running just a few hours per week). The peaker plant has been the target of a prolonged environmental lawsuit over its cooling system. The proposed baseload plant is also garnering community protest, as it would increase air pollutants in an already environmentally sensitive area.


The name Danskammer is Dutch for "Dance chamber". On their voyage upriver in 1609 Henry Hudson's crew supposedly saw Native Americans dancing around a fire at the site and thought they were looking at "the Devil's dance chamber". There was once a lighthouse, Danskammer Point Light, at the site.[3]

The Danskammer station was built by Central Hudson Gas & Electric and opened in 1952.[4]

Sale to DynegyEdit

In 2001 Central Hudson sold both Roseton and Danskammer to Dynegy for $903 million, under new rules deregulating electricity, in order to become just a distributor of power.[5][6] Central Hudson added a facility that allowed the plant, which had previously received coal only by rail, to receive coal from self-unloading ships.[7]

Environmental concernsEdit

Shortly after the Dynegy acquisition, environmental activists began to raise concerns about the plant's emissions. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures, it was among the top ten releasers of pollutants by weight in New York, releasing 1.4 million pounds (640 tonnes) of hazardous emissions in 2000.[8] Dynegy defended its operation of the plant as entirely within its permits.[8]

The environmental group Riverkeeper took note of the long-overdue renewal of the plant's discharge permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In common with Roseton and Indian Point Energy Center, its use of once-through cooling, in which river water was pumped in, used to cool the plant, then pumped out warm, dated to the 1950s and was responsible for large fish kills in the river. A state judge had voided the permit,[9] but it was reversed on appeal.[10] After DEC rebuffed Riverkeeper's effort to force it to accelerate the process,[11] and ruled that closed-cycle cooling, the environmental group's preferred alternative, was not feasible at Danskammer, Riverkeeper filed suit against DEC and Dynegy alleging violations of state administrative-procedure law in issuing the new permit.[12] They alleged that DEC had accepted Dynegy's argument that it didn't have space to install closed-cycle cooling despite the company owning large tracts of adjacent vacant land, and that it had allowed Dynegy to account for its water withdrawals in an unrealistic fashion.[13] Dynegy says there are cheaper alternatives to the cooling towers a closed-cycle system would require.[14]

During the late 2000s, Dynegy filed a suit of its own. It alleged that the plants had been overvalued and thus that it had paid more in taxes to Orange County, the town of Newburgh and the Marlboro school district than it should have. The exact reasons for the alleged overvaluation remained confidential as a result of a judge's gag order in the case in order to protect Dynegy's proprietary information regarding the plant. It was later settled, resulting in an increase in local property taxes, particularly in the school district.[15] In 2019, Danskammer once again claimed that they had overpaid Marlboro School District over $900,000.[16]

Dynegy bankruptcy, storm damage and plant saleEdit

Dynegy filed for bankruptcy in 2011. In 2012 the Danskammer plant incurred extensive storm damage from Hurricane Sandy and was shut down.[17] Pursuant to the bankruptcy declaration, Dynegy sold the Danskammer plant to Helios Power Capital, LLC in 2013. Both Danskammer and Roseton were sold for $68 million.[18][6]

Danskammer Electric Energy Production (2006–2012)[19]Edit

Year Net Energy Production (GWh) Notes
2006 2,282
2007 2,618
2008 2,679 Units 1 and 2, which burn fuel oil primarily at this time, curtailed compared to previous years
2009 2,062 Units 1 and 2 again produce little energy
2010 1,734 Units 1 and 2 again produce little energy
2011 917 Units 1 and 2 again produce little energy
2012 308 Units 1 and 2 again produce little energy

New operating permits and plant restartEdit

Following the 2013 acquisition, Helios Power Capital had planned to dismantle the Danskammer plant. However, the New York Independent System Operator was interested in stabilizing electric power prices in the Lower Hudson Valley region, and created a new electricity capacity zone to facilitate such stability. Helios then proposed to renovate and reopen the plant. After extensive consultations and negotiations on environmental permit requirements, DEC and EPA allowed Danskammer to reopen, using only natural gas as the primary fuel. Units 1 and 2 may use oil as a backup fuel. Units 1 through 4 were restarted in 2014.[20] The plant continued to operate as a peaker unit, producing comparatively little energy compared to its theoretical maximum on an annual basis but collecting increased revenues in the NYISO capacity market as a result of the new FERC-approved capacity zone.[21][22]

Mercuria Energy Group, which had brought Danskammer back online, agreed to sell it to a New York City private equity firm in 2017. Tiger Infrastructure partnered with Agate Energy to buy the plant.[23] While the price was not made public, a filing with the state's Public Service Commission said that Mercuria was lending Tiger $66 million to cover part of the purchase. The parties expected to receive regulatory approval by the end of the year.[24] However, their plans overlooked the lengthy public comments and Article 10 intervenor process, as well as community outrage at the scale of the proposed plant. To date, 7 local communities have passed resolutions to oppose the plant.[25]

"Repowering" applicationEdit

In 2018, the new owners, Danskammer Energy, LLC., filed an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need pursuant to Article 10 of the Public Service Law to re-power the plant as a more efficient 525 MW to 575 MW combined-cycle facility in the same footprint as the existing facility. This new facility would use an air cooled condenser to cool the water used in the steam turbine, eliminating the once-through cooling system disapproved by local environmental groups.[26][27] Opponents to the application are claiming that the new proposals systemically mischaracterize the nature of the plant as a "repowering", when it is in fact an expansion, with baseload capacity rising 100 MW to 636 MW; and are asserting that air emissions would be impacted.[28] Most importantly, they point out that this is an unnecessary plant, as according to NYISO, the plant is not needed to produce power for the grid.[29] Moreover, it contravenes stated goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, passed in July 2019.[30]

Impact on local tax revenuesEdit

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when Central Hudson owned the plant, Central Hudson's tax payments amounted to 80%-90% of the Marlboro School District's budget. From 2002 to 2007, Dynegy contributed about $100 million to the Marlboro School District budget, during which the school district planned capital expenditures upwards of $60 million. The plant's tax assessed value was updated in 2008 to account for decreasing wholesale market revenues and the school district began making budget and position cuts.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2008" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  2. ^ NYSPSC case no. 18-F-0325
  3. ^ Mumford, Warren (May 17, 2007). "History: Danskammer Point Light". Village of Cornwall on Hudson. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Rinaldi, Thomas E.; Yasinsac, Robert J. (2006). Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England. p. 292. ISBN 978-1-58465-598-5.
  5. ^ "Central Hudson Closes Sale on Roseton and Danskammer Generating Plants; Divestiture Means Immediate Changes in Customer Bills" (Press release). Business Wire. January 30, 2001. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Jessica Di Napoli (June 10, 2013). "Power plants that were 'golden goose' end big cash flow". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  7. ^ McCartney, Richard (October 15, 2006). "Designing and upgrading plants to blend coal". Tradefair Group. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2009. Danskammer Generating Station. This plant in Roseton, N.Y., used to receive all of its coal by unit trains. A self-unloading coal-receiving system capable of handling ships as heavy as 30,000 dwt (deadweight tons) was added to enable deliveries of coal from the Hudson River
  8. ^ a b Hall, Wayne (July 11, 2002). "Newburgh plant one of N.Y.'s top 10 polluters". Ottaway Community Newspapers. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  9. ^ "Danskammer permit voided". Associated Press. October 1, 2004. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  10. ^ "Environmentalists fail in suit vs. Danskammer". Times-Herald Record. Ottaway Community Newspapers. April 21, 2006. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  11. ^ Crotty, Erin (October 1, 2002). "Danskammer Electric Generating Plant - Commissioner's Ruling, October 1, 2002". New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  12. ^ Bruno, Greg (July 27, 2006). "Suit questions Danskammer's cooling system". Times-Herald Record. Ottaway Community Newspapers. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  13. ^ Reiss, Warren (November 11, 2007). "Cool it on the Hudson". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  14. ^ Bruno, Greg (August 3, 2006). "Dynegy power plant vs. Hudson River life". Times-Herald Record. Ottaway Community Newspapers. Retrieved November 21, 2009.
  15. ^ Ross, Carrie (November 13, 2008). "Hitting the ceiling". Woodstock Times. Ulster Publishing. Retrieved November 21, 2009. The question: What could be done about the steep increase in school taxes in the aftermath of the $40 million Dynegy settlement and a $20 million dollar high school building bond, causing school taxes to skyrocket more than 40 percent for many this year.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Bellamy, Lana. "Danskammer claims tax overpayment of nearly $900K". recordonline.com. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  17. ^ Schutzman, Nina (2014-11-23). "Danskammer set to return to financially-strapped school district". Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
  18. ^ Bishop, Stewart (2013-08-30). "Dynegy Bankruptcy Judge OKs $3.5M Plant Sale To Helios". Law360. Portfolio Media. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
  19. ^ NYISO Gold Book years 2007–2013
  20. ^ Murtha, David T. (2015-02-11). "Permitting Considerations for Facility Reactivation: "Zombie" Power Plants" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-05-16.. Presentation at the 18th Annual Joint Seminar of the Air and Waste Management Association and New York Water Environment Association, Pittsford, NY.
  21. ^ NYISO Gold Book years 2014–2018
  22. ^ NYISO ROS price versus G-J price on ICAP page
  23. ^ Richard Trabulsi (September 14, 2017). "Tiger Infrastructure Signs Agreement to Acquire Danskammer Generation Station" (Press release). Tiger Infrastructure. BusinessWire. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  24. ^ Sparks, Leonard (September 21, 2017). "Equity firm agrees to buy Danskammer". Times-Herald Record. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  25. ^ "Beacon Passes Resolution Against Plan to Rebuild Danskammer Plant". spectrumlocalnews.com. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  26. ^ NYSPSC DMM case no. 18-F-0325
  27. ^ Leonard Sparks (August 3, 2018). "Danskammer owner amends plan for new plant". Times Herald-Record. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  28. ^ Allison Dunne (August 20, 2018). "Report Takes Issue With Plans For Danskammer Power Plant". WAMC. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "NYISO Comprehensive Reliability Plan".
  30. ^ Roberts, David (2019-06-20). "New York just passed the most ambitious climate target in the country". Vox. Retrieved 2019-10-06.