According to Corrado, the new turbines would dramatically improve on the older units at the Barrett Station. Those units have spawned small fires twice in the past three months, both quickly extinguished by the Island Park and Oceanside fire departments. A cooling system that depends on air rather than water to cool the engines would allow the energy center to have a much lighter environmental footprint on Barnum’s Channel and the surrounding waters than the Barrett Station.
“Comparing the new and the old facility, obviously there are a lot of benefits from the environmental standpoint,” Corrado said. “We do have a power station there now, so you do have a certain noise profile and you do have a certain visual profile. Those will change. … While we design the plant, we design to have mitigation in place and the least possible impact.”
Much of the response to the proposal has been positive, noting environmental improvements and the continuation of tax revenue and payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, from National Grid to the Island Park School District, and both Glenn Ingoglia and Michael McGinty, the Voice and Unity mayoral candidates in the March 18 election, have supported the plan publicly. Island Park School District Superintendent Rosemary Bovino also praised the plan.
“We’re very optimistic and excited,” Bovino said. “ … We’re looking forward to actually sitting down at the table with National Grid and [Nassau] County to look over the PILOTs and set down the PILOTs for the next 15 years.”
But not all of Island Park is satisfied. David Schieren, the CEO of the Island Park-based solar, engineering and contracting company EmPower Solar, said that while the new station would be an improvement from an environmental standpoint, it is a long way from perfect.
“I don’t think that we need additional fossil fuel plants on Long Island,” said Schieren. “We can power our community with solar energy and wind power in Island Park, Oceanside [and] Long Beach. … Imagine a clean-energy community. If we decommission that plant and put solar and wind there … we have the opportunity to provide a centralized renewable energy plan for the community.”