Cayuga Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant To Convert To Solar Powered Data Center

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The owners of a coal-fired power plant on the shore of Cayuga Lake will end efforts to convert it to liquified natural gas.

Celia Clarke/WSKG / WSKG

Protesters inside the Tompkins County Legislature chamber. They oppose the conversion of Cayuga Power Plant from coal to natural gas. Photo: Celia Clarke/WSKG

In 2018, the owners of the plant first proposed converting it to use liquified natural gas. The idea was strongly opposed by community groups, like “No Fracked Gas Cayuga”  and “Fossil Free Tompkins.”

Now, the owners want to convert it into a 100 megawatt data center. Their proposal includes a seventy-five acre solar farm, and they will apply to the state for a 125 megawatt renewable energy allocation.

WSKG requested an interview with CEO Jerry Goodenough of Heorot, a subsidiary of Beowulf Energy, but did not receive a reply before going on air. Heorot owns the power plant.

The company sent the follow comment from Michael Enright, an executive with Beowulf Energy. They own the subsidiary that operates the Cayuga plant.

“We have presented a transition plan to the State that would retire the coal plants in advance of the timeline set forth in the Part 251 regulations while creating a viable new business and jobs in their place, using renewable energy.   It has been well received by all major stakeholders – local leaders, environmentalists,  and union and business leaders.  Right now, we are focusing our efforts on what happens to these sites after coal —  and how they can and should be part of New York’s Green New Deal.’ “

The company plan states it will create 100 union construction jobs and when the conversion is completed there will be 30-40  full-time jobs paying $40,000-$60,000.

The power plant, which is in Lansing on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, is owned by Heorot Power, a subsidiary of Beowulf Energy.