Construction Begins On "Peaking" Facility
By Gary G. Toms
Construction has begun on the new 44-megawatt generator at the KeySpan facility in Bayswater. Deb Colton, Community Relations Specialist for Florida Power and Light (FPL), explained that the generator, which would also service residents at the west end of the peninsula as well, is necessary in order to insure that Rockaway has an adequate power supply during the summer months.
"During the heat wave last summer, there was an enormous strain on the power supply throughout the Rockaways, and this single unit stack will provide additional power to offset that problem and help keep the flow of electricity at a constant level."
Charles Jones, a general contractor and foreman with the Foster Wheeler Corporation, was on hand to serve as tour guide at the worksite.
"The new 44 megawatt unit would be used as a summer "peaking" unit, which means that it would be available during peak demand months to meet the increasing needs of the Rockaway peninsula. During critical demand periods, such as heat waves, it is our contention that the output of the unit, working in conjunction with the LIPA substation on Beach 116 Street, would be essential to keeping the power running along the peninsula," stated Jones.
Local residents had expressed environmental concerns early on, particularly involving the level of noise and pollution that would be generated from the power source, but Colton pointed out that many of those concerns have been addressed.
"I want to assure the residents of the Bayswater community that FPL and KeySpan are working diligently to comply with both government and environmental standards during construction and once the unit is operational. LIPA, KeySpan and other state agency representatives are always on site to make sure that regulations are being followed."
Jones agreed that all measures are being taken to meet the guidelines of the government and the city.
"To deal with the level of noise that is usually accompanied with this type of construction, we are utilizing a technique called "auguring", which consist of using a crane with a drill-like device attached to dig beneath the surface so that we can lay a foundation for the pilings to be placed. The system makes an enormous difference in terms of the noise level," said the foreman.
The project will be completed in the Spring of 2002, and officials believe it will be operational this summer.