The chair of the state Senate’s energy committee is out with a new package of bills today which he says would help spur coal-fired power plants to switch to natural gas.
Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, is set to formally unveil the bills today at a energy committee hearing in western New York today.
Maziarz’ legislation would allow power plants to take a 12.5 percent tax credit on any improvements that are necessary to comply with environmental standards laid out in the state’s new energy siting bill. The bills would also make changes to the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program, allowing plants to take the money they pay for carbon credits and use it to transition to cleaner technology.
In particular, the bills are aimed at a number of struggling coal plants that represent a large share of their community’s tax base, such as former AES plants in Tompkins and Niagara counties. (The Tompkins County plant has alerted the state of its intention to mothball the facility come January.)
“That’s really what the hearing is about today, is not giving up on these plants,” Maziarz said in a phone interview. “Most of them are coal plants. They can be converted to natural gas plants, and the price of natural gas is the cheapest than its probably been since the mid-1980s.”


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