Air Quality Modeling and Permitting for Rikers Island Cogeneration Facility

Rikers Island Cogeneration Facility


Rikers Island Cogeneration Facility


Queens, NY


New York City Department of Correction

AKRF performed air quality permitting and modeling required for the construction of a new gas turbine cogeneration plant at the Rikers Island prison complex in Queens, NY, as part of preparation of an environmental assessment under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

The Rikers Island prison complex has experienced several power outages in the past few years. These recurring power outages led to the installation of numerous back-up diesel-fueled generators and their operation for extended periods of time. While these units are adequate for emergency situations, the generators are not configured to provide full redundancy. Therefore, the New York City Department of Correction (NYCDOC) proposed to construct and operate a new cogeneration facility on Rikers Island to reduce the need for off-site power to a minimum.

The air quality analysis required pollutant emissions and dispersion modeling to determine if the emissions could result in any significant adverse air quality impacts.

In addition, the proposed cogeneration facility was required to obtain air quality permits from the state and city agencies, as well as a determination of the applicability and compliance with:

  • Prevention of significant deterioration (PSD)
  • Nonattainment new source review (NANSR)
  • New source performance standards (NSPS)
  • Reasonably available control technology (RACT)
  • National emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP)
  • Other state and city rules and regulations

AKRF helped the client to save time and money though a strategic air permit modification, negotiated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), where the new cogeneration facility will be able to avoid applicability to strict PSD regulations and NANSR requirements, while still providing NYCDOC with maximum operational flexibility.

AKRF also prepared a climate change analysis showing a net reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating a net global benefit with the on-site source of power lowering operating costs and improving reliability of service. In addition, reducing operation of the emergency diesel generators will be beneficial for local air quality.

Air Quality Overview