Danskammer incorporates green hydrogen into proposal; activists fire back

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – Danskammer Energy’s $500 million proposal to modernize the River Road peaker-power plant into a full-time facility includes plans to convert it to green hydrogen power by 2040.

The company is in talks with Mitsubishi, which designed the plant’s turbines, and other developers on the green hydrogen aspect of the project. The plan is calling for a transition to 30 percent green hydrogen power by 2030 and a complete transition by 2040.

The hallway underneath the turbines in the lower elevation at the Danskammer plant, which runs on natural gas.

But Danskammer opponents, such as Food and Water Action, have said the company’s hydrogen plans are a form of “greenwashing” or an attempt to mislead the public about the environmental effects of the project.

Food and Water Action is the activism arm of the environmental nonprofit Food and Water Watch and has led organized efforts condemning the project, including several local protests over the past few months and other types of demonstrations.

A “die-in” protest outside Danskammer Energy’s Town of Newburgh offices was planned for Thursday evening by Food and Water Action.

Organizers were planning to demonstrate in the rain, but tornado threats in surrounding areas pushed them to cancel. It has been rescheduled for Sept. 2 at 5 p.m.

Creating ‘green’ hydrogen

Protesters listen as Aura Lopez Zarate of Newburgh speaks out against the proposed Danskammer Energy expansion during a demonstration outside of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's office to protest against the Danskammer Energy's proposed power plant project in the City of Newburgh on July 28th, 2020.

The caveat to Danskammer’s hydrogen plans is that the plant needs a hydrogen source, said Michelle Hook, vice president of public affairs for Danskammer Energy.

Hydrogen can come from natural gas, but it isn’t really “green” unless it is created using renewable sources, such as solar or wind energy, she noted.

“Until we have enough renewable development available to create the hydrogen, that’s sort of the conundrum we’re in,” Hook said. “… As the state builds out, we’re hoping to work with either some of the state agencies, or with wind or solar developers directly, or a company that is a hydrogen producer.”

Read More: Danskammer incorporates green hydrogen into proposal; activists fire back

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