Initiative aims to boost Western Queens economically and environmentally

(March 18, 2024 at 10:45am)

QUEENS, NY – For generations, Western Queens families — especially the residents of NYCHA’s Queensbridge and Ravenswood Houses — have lived in the shadow of the Ravenswood Generating Station, New York City’s largest power plant. As the station’s owner, Rise Light & Power, leads a transition of the plant into a renewable energy hub, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. announced today the launch of the Reimagine Ravenswood Just Transition Site Reuse Planning Study.

This comprehensive, community-informed study — conducted with technical support from HR&A Advisors and partly funded by Rise Light & Power — will focus on identifying equitable economic development opportunities, creating Western Queens-based green jobs, expanding public waterfront access, investing in public housing families and better integrating the reimagined generating station into the neighborhood.

As a first step in the study, a steering committee will be established, including Queens Borough President’s Office staff, public housing tenant leaders, City agency representatives, community-based organizations and other entities. To allow for Western Queens residents to provide input on the future of the station and ways to generate economic growth in the area, in-person community engagement sessions will also take place in the coming weeks.

The first session is scheduled for next Monday, March 25, at 6:30pm at NYCHA Queensbridge Houses’ Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, located at 10-25 41st Avenue in Long Island City. To RSVP, visit www.bit.ly/reimagineravenswoodpw1

“The days of environmental and economic injustice in Western Queens, especially for our historically marginalized public housing families, are coming to an end. As we prepare to transform the Ravenswood Generating Station into a clean energy producer, it’s critical that the surrounding community reaps the benefits of that transition,” said Borough President RICHARDS. “To that end, it’s the families of Western Queens who deserve to lead this process. I look forward to hearing how our families feel Renewable Ravenswood can best uplift themselves and their community, and I encourage everyone to make their voices heard in the months ahead.”

“Rise Light & Power thanks Borough President Richards and NYSERDA for the opportunity to partner on this initiative,” said Rise Light & Power CEO Clint Plummer. “Our Renewable Ravenswood plan envisions a green energy transformation of our facility, where our dedicated UWUA Local 1-2 staff has kept the lights on for 60 years and counting. Creative and coordinating planning can help ensure that the redevelopment of our 27-acre site delivers good union jobs and delivers tangible benefits for our neighbors in Western Queens and beyond.”

“The Just Transition Site Reuse Planning Study is an exciting opportunity for Western Queens to demonstrate to New York City and the nation how to integrate environmental and economic justice in a way that is substantial and community-driven,” said HR&A Advisors Partner Jose Serrano-McClain. “And it is only possible due to the unique partnership between the Office of the Queens Borough President, Rise Light & Power, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. It is also an opportunity to connect Western Queens to bold planning happening at the City level, including a focus on growing industrial manufacturing citywide, and the State level, in furtherance of New York State’s statewide decarbonization goals.”

The station’s transition includes replacing the existing 1960’s-vintage fossil generators with new clean energy projects.  The first of these, an offshore wind project called Attentive Energy One, was provisionally awarded by NYSERDA and will permanently replace one of Ravenswood’s 1960s-vintage generators.

Bound by the East River to the west, Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to the south, 24th Street to the east and 34th Avenue to the north, the study area includes the Ravenswood and Queensbridge Houses, Queensbridge Park and Rainey Park and the industrial business zones on either side of 21st Street.

A culturally competent written survey will also be available in English, Spanish, Bengali, and Chinese, with a final action plan, developed through these community engagement methods and others, being issued this summer.

The Queens Borough President’s Office was awarded funding through NYSERDA’s Just Transition Site Reuse Planning Program, which is designed to provide communities with resources to inform future local-level decision making and help mitigate any negative impacts of pending or future fossil fuel power plant closures.

For more information on the Just Transition Site Reuse Planning Program visit NYSERDA’s website. For more information about Reimagine Ravenswood, visit www.reimagineravenswood.com.

Rise Light & Power is a Queens, New York based energy asset manager and developer, and is actively transforming its core asset, Long Island City’s Ravenswood Generation Station, into a new clean energy hub Renewable Ravenswood. By redeveloping New York City’s largest power generating facility, Rise will permanently replace fossil fuel power with homegrown renewable energy, while providing a just transition for its existing union workforce and economic opportunities for surrounding communities.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) is an employee-owned, mission-driven economic development and public policy consulting firm that has operated in New York City for over 40 years. We believe in creating vital places, building more equitable and resilient communities, and improving people’s lives.

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