Bennettsville Power Station is an abandoned power plant in New York 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 fledgeling 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 most significant 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 Station in 1938.
In 1941, planning began for a 30 MW power plant in the east-central part of the state to supply additional electircal power and improve the distribution of generating facilities. 5 The Bennettsville Power Station opened with a single 30 MW unit on December 13, 1945.
Work to install a second 30 MW unit began by Friederich & Sons of Rochester in October 1948 8 was finished in the fall of 1950. 2 7
NYSEG studied closing Bennettsville in 1996, citing its high operating costs and low electric generating capacity. 11 At the time, the plant employed 40 people. A study released shortly after ranked Bennettsville as one of the worst polluters per unit of heat in the state. 9 The two units produced 1.8 BTUs of heat, emitting 201,000 tons of sulfur dioxiode, nitrogen oxide, and carbon dioxide.
In 1998, 6 AES purchased six power plants in New York, including Genesee, from NGE Generation for $953 million. 3 Specifically, Bennettsville was sold for $7.15 million. 10
On August 18, 2000, AES announced that Bennettsville would be placed on cold standby. 10 It came after residents complained of increased emissions. 6 AES blamed the emissions on a switch to 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 discharges violated federal opacity standards.
AES evaluated plans in 2005 to install new pollution controls at the facility. 1 Instead, AES began removal of the generators and turbines, and sealed the instake and discharge canals.
New York Power Authority, as part of its Advanced Clean Coal Power Plant Initiative, requested proposals for clean-coal power plants in 2006. 12 AES submitted plans for a 500 MW coal and biomass plant on the site of the Bennettsville facility, with it opening by 2013. AES’s proposal for the Bennettsville site was not selected for consideration. 13