From the Daily News:
Northwestern Queens may soon breathe a bit easier.
The fact that the region bears the burden of five power plants remains a sore point for locals, but many of the 1960s-built plants may be getting makeovers in the form of more modern, greener technology.
One such plant is a 600-megawatt site on the East River in Astoria owned by NRG Energy. Company officials have received most of the permits needed to begin a $1.5 billion repowering project.
Repowering entails replacing vintage steam turbines with newer, more efficient "combined-cycle" turbines, which recycle the waste heat that older units release into the atmosphere.
"The problem is our turbines are 40 years old," said Lee Davis, vice president of NRG. "We bought these older plants with the intent of repowering."
If NRG secures the necessary funding, it will replace 31 old turbines with four combined-cycle units. The new turbines will reduce emissions by more than 75% annually, Davis said. It will also increase generating capacity by more than 400 megawatts.
Of the five plants in the region, three are still using vintage turbines. In January, New York Power Authority closed the Charles Poletti Power Project - a move that locals hailed as a major victory.