Regardless of the efforts put forth by community members in Dunkirk and Chautauqua County for the last two years, the NRG plant will not open due to insufficient funds. NRG expected the transition to cost around $15 million initially, but further developments show the most recent estimate over $100 million dollars.
"If NRG did their due diligence, and would have permitted we wouldn't be doing this interview Sean, it wouldn't be a question. There wouldn't be any question about $41 million or $115 million," Gus Potkovick said, who lives in Fredonia and worked for Niagara Mohawk and then NRG for 34 years
“We lost jobs, we were promised jobs and it’s just sad it really is," Potkovick said. "I hope things get brighter because we have a lot of young kids around here that would love to stay in the area."
The largest taxpayer in the county used to employ over 200 people and the new NRG plant was targeting to employ 100 locals. The plant supplied 17% Dunkirk's budget and 40% of the Dunkirk schools' budget. For the last few years, Western New York has relied on power from coal plants in Homer Pennsylvania. Residents in Chautauqua county were paying over $100 more than those who live in the center of the state because of the price increase.
"From a electricity cost standpoint and certainly a tax based standpoint, being the single largest taxpayer in Chautauqua County, not having them here is a devastating impact on many levels, Chautauqua County Executive, George Borrello, said.
Fortunately Borrello is optimistic.
"We are coming up with a plan to come up with another supplier, electrical producer or to re-purpose that plant in some other way. This is a big hit but we'll come back from it," Borrello said.