Ravenswood Generating Station

Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens, New York, generates 2,480 megawatts of power by steam turbine, combustion turbine, and combined cycle technology. Ravenswood uses advanced controls to reduce their impact on water and air. Units 30, 20, and 10 use Close Coupled Over Air Fired Systems to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide. Unit 40 has a multi-cell air condenser, a low NOx combustion system, and selective catalytic reduction. Unit 40 received the 2004 Combined Cycle Journal Award for Power Plant Efficiency and Environmentally Friendly Design. Ravenswood can serve 21% of New York City’s power needs.

Units 10, 30, and 20 have boilers capable of using both natural and No. 6 gas, allowing TransCanada to produce electricity using the most economical mix of fuel. Unit 40’s combined cycle technology makes it 50% more efficient than conventional steam use.

Ravenswood No. 3, now known as Big Allis due to its size, was commissioned by Con-Ed in 1965. It was the first million-kilowatt unit in the world and could serve 3 million people. When it was installed it was the largest generating facility in the world. Located on the site of Ravenswood, it is made up of Units 4, 3, 2, and 1, an oil depot, and several gas turbines. The Ravenswood site also has a steam generating plant of 4 B&W boilers. Also called “The A House,” it is now operated and owned by Con-Ed, which aids in supplying steam as needed through a tunnel under the East River.

Con-Ed owned Ravenswood until 1999, when it had to sell it because of deregulation. KeySpan purchased it for $600 million United States dollars. KeySpan and National Grid merged in 2007, and because this made it possible to influence electrical costs in the city because of National Grid’s big distribution, National Grid was forced to sell the site by the New York Public Service Commission. TransCanada Corp of Calgary, AB, bought the site in 2008 for $2.9 billion United States dollars.

Like countless other power plants, factories, work sites, and mills of the 20th century, Ravenswood likely employed asbestos in the construction of its site and equipment. Asbestos was used to insulate many of the machines in the plant, however it is a toxic mineral and  many workers were exposed to serious health threats such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with a latency period of 20 to 50 years. Since a patient may not be diagnosed for decades, once they are aware of their disease, the cancer is already so advanced that little to no treatment will work  to help combat the disease.