Aging western New York coal-burning plant closing; another jeopardized by lawsuit

An energy company says it will close an aging coal-fired power plant in western New York by next March and is placing on hold repowering plans at another plant because of a federal lawsuit.

David Gaier, spokesman for NRG Energy, said Tuesday the company has filed an application with the state Public Service Commission to close the Huntley coal facility in Tonawanda by March 2016, eliminating 79 jobs. He said low natural gas prices and other factors had made the plant economically unviable.

Gaier said the last of four units at NRG's Dunkirk plant will be mothballed by Jan. 1, costing 66 jobs, because of "massive uncertainty" caused by a federal lawsuit filed by Entergy Corp., owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County. The lawsuit challenges ratepayer and state subsidies for NRG Dunkirk.