AES Cayuga Generation Plant

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Cayuga Generation Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by AES near Lansing, New York.

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In 1999, AES purchased six power plants in New York (including the Cayuga station) from NGE Generation, Inc. for $953 million.[1] The other stations included in the deal were AES Somerset, AES Westover, AES Greenidge, AES Hickling, and AES Jennison[1] In March 2011 AES announced it wanted to sell four of its New York coal plants, including Cayuga. The other plants included AES Westover, AES Greenidge and AES Somerset. [2]


In July 2012, Cayuga Operating Company notified the Commission that it intended to mothball the facility, based on “current and forecasted wholesale electric prices in New York that are inadequate for the Cayuga Facility to operate economically.” Since then, Cayuga has been operating only through ratepayer subsidies of approximately US$4 million per month.[3]

In February 2016 the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected Cayuga’s proposal for an additional US$145 million in ratepayer funds to repower the plant with coal and gas, choosing instead electricity transmission upgrades that will make the plant unnecessary.[3]

Plant Data

  • Owner: AES Cayuga LLC
  • Parent Company: AES
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 323 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 155 MW (1955), 167 MW (1955)
  • Location: 228 Cayuga Dr., Lansing, NY 14882
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.603333, -76.63555
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,370,486 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

The following table gives more info on this plant's SO2 emissions levels, as well as on whatever SO2 emissions "scrubbers" (Flue Gas Desulfurization units, or FGDs) have been installed at the plant. Each of the plant's units is listed separately, and at the bottom overall data for the plant is listed.[4][5]

Unit # Year Built Capacity MWh Produced (2005) SO2 Emissions (2005) SO2 Emissions per MWh (2005) Average Annual Coal Sulfur Content FGD Unit Type FGD In-Service Year FGD SO2 Removal Efficiency
1 1955 155 MW 1,197,205 MWh 1,505 tons 2.51 lb./MWh 2.31% spray tower 1995 94%
2 1955 167 MW 1,213,463 MWh 1,463 tons 2.41 lb./MWh 2.28% spray tower 1995 90%
Total 323 MW 2,410,668 MWh 2,968 tons 2.46 lb./MWh

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Cayuga Generation Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from AES Cayuga Generation Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 5 $36,000,000
Heart attacks 9 $960,000,000
Asthma attacks 78 $4,000
Hospital admissions 4 $92,000
Chronic bronchitis 3 $1,300,000
Asthma ER visits 3 $1,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that New York, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[8] The report mentioned New York based AES Cayuga Generation Plant as having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[9]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

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Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "AES completes acquistion of six power plants in New York with total capacity of 1424 MW", Business Wire via High Beam Research, May 14, 1999.
  2. "AES to sell four New York coal plants" Reuters, March, 4, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "PSC Rejects Cayuga Subsidies -- Opts For Transmission Upgrades," Sierra Club, Feb 23, 2016
  4. Coal Power Plant Database, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy, 2007.
  5. EIA-767, Energy Information Administration, 2005.
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  9. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.

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