2001-05-26 / Front Page

New Bayswater Plant

New Bayswater Plant

Fills Local ‘Load Pocket’

By Howard Schwach

Florida Power and Light sees Rockaway as a "Load Pocket" that needs to be filled by placing a 44-megawatt summer "peaking facility" in the existing power facility in Bayswater.

"Rockaway is a load pocket with 106,000 people living and working in 22,000 homes and businesses," Peter Ford, the Project Developer for FPL Energy, the sponsors of the new facility. "It has only one 99-megawatt power generating unit and that unit was built in 1953."

Ford pointed out at a meeting held at the Bayswater Jewish Center last Monday that electric demand on the peninsula is growing at about three percent per year and that Rockaway will need more electricity this summer and in ensuing summers if we are to avoid the blackouts that have plagued other parts of the nation.

"Summer peak demand was 200 megawatts last summer," he said. "We expect the peak demand this summer may approach 220 megawatts.

The new generator, called a peaking facility because it will only operate during the summer months, when the demand is greatest, will be sited on the water, next to the existing generating facility owned by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) the company that placed the request for placement to which FPL Energy responded. Local residents have called the property "The LILCO Property" for years because the plant, previously owned by that company, has been on the site since the early 1950’s.

Some residents are not sure that the site is a proper one for an additional generator, however.

Twenty-five people showed up at the hearing, most of the to voice their displeasure over the plan.

One of the major concerns voiced is that the power generated by the plan would be used to provide electricity to Nassau and Suffolk Counties rather than to Rockaway.

"We do not want our air polluted so that other counties can benefit from that pollution," one man told FPL officials after the meeting.

LIPA officials say, however, that the electricity will be used for Rockaway. In a letter to Borough President Claire Shulman, company chairman Richard Kessel said, "Presently, the existing generation station can supply about 100 MW of electricity when fully operational. LIPA transmission lines that connect the peninsula to the LIPA grid in Nassau County can transport approximately 150 MW of electricity into the Rockaways, and have been used in the past to help meet the needs of what is a ‘load pocket’ due to the isolated nature of the area.

"The new 44 MW unit would be used as a summer peaking unit, which means that it would be available during peak demand months to meet the increased needs of the Rockaway peninsula. During a critical demand period, such as a heat wave, it is our contention that the output of the unit would be essential to keeping the lights on and the air conditioning running in the peninsula."

Local resident Barbara Rosenblatt, however, thought that other sites might be more suitable. She pointed to the fact that the roads leading to the site would be clogged during the construction period and that there were too many homes nearby for such an added facility.

Seymour Pine, a resident for many years, complained of the "popping noises and pollution" that come from the present facility and wondered if LIPA would somehow reimburse residents for damage to their homes should the new facility be approved.

Present plans call for the construction to begin in June, following approval of the permits. There is a "late summer" target for the generator to begin providing power.

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