Genesee Power Station is an abandoned power plant that was in operation from 1948 to 2000.
The New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) was incorporated in 1852 as the Ithaca Gas Light Company. 4 The fledgling company soon laid gas mains and built a coal gas plant to light street lamps, homes and businesses in Ithaca. By the 1890’s, the invention of the incandescent bulb, the central generating power plant and the use of alternating current led to a decline in the use of gas for lighting. Ithaca Gas Light began acquiring local electric companies to stay competitive.
In 1910, Ithaca Gas Light was acquired by Associated Gas & Electric. 4 During the first 25 years of the 20th century, more than 240 local companies were absorbed by Associated Gas & Electric, and the company’s growth was reflected in its frequent name changes. In 1916, the company became Ithaca Gas & Electric, New York State Gas & Electric in 1918, New York Electric in 1928, and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) in 1929. By 1937, NYSEG had reached its largest service area of about 35% of the state.
In response to rapidly increasing demand for electricity, NYSEG built a series of large diesel and coal-fired power stations. 4 The Goudey Power Station opened in 1917 in Binghamton, followed by a 163,000 KW unit at its new Greenidge Power Stationin 1938 and a 73,000 KW unit at its new Jennison Station in 1945.
In 1948, NYSEG constructed the Genesee Power Station during a time of rapid expansion for the utility. 1 The power station was constructed with two boilers that provided steam to a single turbine generator, generating 87 MW. 4 Two additional boilers were added in 1952 to provide steam to another turbine generator, generating 40 MW. The completed 70 MW doubled NYSEG’s electrical output capacity. 1
Officials from five Southern Tier counties, Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Tioga and Tompkins, considered a proposal in 1987 to build a regional resource facility to burn their garbage. 7 One of the possibilities was to convert the Genesee power plant into a garbage burning facility. It was estimated that it would cost $50 million to retrofit the plant to burn waste instead of coal. The idea did not progress past the planning stages.
In 1998, 6 AES purchased six power plants in New York, including Genesee, from NGE Generation for $953 million. 3 The plant was placed on cold standby in August 2000 after residents complained of increased emissions. 6 AES blamed the emissions on high-sulfur coal that did not meet the company’s standards. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which sent inspectors to the plant, said the emissions violated federal opacity standards.
AES evaluated plans to convert Genesee into a natural gas-fired power plant, 5 but nothing has come to fruition.