Why would a Chicago-based company that has never built a fossil-fueled generating plant decide to build one in the Town of Ulster? It’s not entirely clear, but name of the so-called “Lincoln Park Grid Support Center” may give us a clue. The company’s site of the company (GlidePath) explains that its purpose is to offer the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) paid “regulation services and short-term energy during periods of peak demand.” The rub is that these services are not needed in our area. They are needed downstate. The proposed project—20 Megawatts (MW) of gas-fired electrical generation plus battery storage and 50,000 gallons of heating oil to run the plant if gas isn’t available—would only be built in the mid-Hudson Valley because 1) there is a location on Sottile Blvd. that has convenient access to the electrical grid and a natural gas pipeline, 2) Ulster County’s air quality is cleaner than the air in downstate counties where the project is needed, making it easier to get a permit to pollute. It’s our air quality for their profit.
During one of the public meetings, GlidePath’s inexperience was on view as the company incorrectly estimated the amount of greenhouse gases that the plant would emit by a factor of four.
A new grassroots group, Town of Ulster Citizens, is actively opposing the project with the support of CLP and a coalition of groups including Catskill Mountainkeeper, Kingston Citizens, Kingston Land Trust, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, and the Woodstock Land Conservancy, as well as residents in downwind “Environmental Justice” communities that have previously suffered environmental damage would be further threatened by pollution from the plant. The Town of Ulster, acting as lead agency, requested broad public comment on questions to be answered by the environmental review process, and then went on to ignore most of the expert recommendations. The citizens groups are continuing their resistance. Details, including documents submitted by CLP and a recording of a CLP-sponsored community forum on battery storage, can be found on our website.
The best solution? Take this project elsewhere, or implement it as a purely battery storage project, which is what GlidePath actually knows how to do.