LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (PIX11) – North Queens residents can now breathe cleaner air as conEdison is no longer dependent on fossil fuel-burning power plants in the area.
The utility company built a six-mile-long transmission line that runs underground, carrying renewable electricity.
The cable starts at the upgraded substation in Long Island City and ends at the substation in Corona.
The power plants in Astoria, formerly owned by NRG Energy, were shut down on Monday and were known as peaker plants that operated mainly when demand for power was high such as during heat waves.
Tim Cawley is the chairman and CEO of conEdison.
“Peaker plants are typically older fossil fuel-burning plants with high emissions,” Cawley said. “These transmission projects will allow us to retire the third-party owned peaker plants.”
The $275 million project took two years to complete and conEdison said it will help New York State reach its climate goals.
The industry is changing direction from when the red and white smokestacks at the nearby Ravenswood Generating Station were erected.
“When those plants were built in 1963, they ran on coal,” said Rory Christian, the state’s Public Service Commission chairman.
This put residents of the Queensbridge Houses – New York City’s largest public housing complex – at risk.
“At some point, someone thought it was a really brilliant idea to put a coal-fired power plant in the urban center within walking distance of a significant group of our citizens,” Christian added.
Residents like Deborah Raiford are pleased to hear of conEdison’s switch to renewable energy, as the surrounding area has been referred to as ‘Asthma Alley.’
“I think it’s a great thing because it’s going to cut down on asthma and the allergens,” Raiford said.
Cleaner air is on its way to two more boroughs as conEdison is working on these same projects in Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Reliable Clean City projects are expected to be completed by 2025.