Freeport Electric upgrades control room at Power Plant 2


Freeport Electric recently completed a major upgrade to its control room at Power Plant No. 2 making it ready to keep the village energized into the future. 

Located on Buffalo Avenue in the industrial section of South Freeport, Power Plant No. 2 has upgraded its control room and now ties all aspects of the Freeport micro grid project together making the control room the nerve center of the Freeport Electric grid.

The $530,000 of grant funding from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery allowed Freeport Electric to invest in the latest technology and equipment to improve the efficiency, reliability, and dependability of the power distribution system.

The state’s storm recovery office is a state-level agency that coordinates and manages the distribution of funds for the recovery and rebuilding of communities affected by natural disasters. It was established in 2013 following the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The new control room at Freeport Electric’s Power Plant No. 2 features a state-of-the-art matrix system in conjunction with a new video wall. This allows power plant operators to better manage Freeport’s power grid. The system allows the operators to control the LM6000 turbine and additional generating units, monitor the loading on upgraded underground and overhead cables, and have faster connectivity to automated systems.

The new video wall processing system allows the operators to have a visual representation of the power grid, improving the efficiency and accuracy of monitoring and controlling the power distribution.

The video wall also provides real-time data and information about the power grid, which enables operators to make informed decisions and respond quickly to any issues.

The control room has faster connectivity to automated systems, allowing for faster response times in the event of an emergency. This is particularly important for critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and emergency services, which rely on a stable power supply. The faster response times also minimize the risk of power outages, which can cause significant disruptions to the community.

“We have the ability to turn this power plant on and provide power within 30 minutes,” Mayor Robert Kennedy said.

The new control room also features a 24/7, 365-days-a-year operation, ensuring that there is always an operator on duty to meet the needs of Freeport’s power demands. This ensures power is continuously supplied to the community, even in the event of an emergency.

In addition, the system is set up to run forever, ensuring that the control room can continue to operate smoothly and efficiently in the long term.

The power plant’s operators are able to manage Freeport’s power grid more effectively, providing critical information while running the jet engine that generates 50 megawatts of electricity for the area.

Freeport is the largest municipally-owned power supplier on Long Island, serving over 45,000 homes and is the only village on Long Island to own a jet-engine turbine to help supply power.  The LM6000 turbine is a gas-powered jet engine generally used to power 747 aircrafts but powers Freeport Electric Plant No. 2.

“Our residents get a 45 percent reduction in electric fees, because we’re the ones providing that electricity to the grid,” Kennedy said. “We have our own power.”

The LM6000 turbine was first installed in 2003, when Power Plant No. 2 was entirely overhauled to meet all federal and state air-quality regulations. For more than 30 years before the upgrade, the plant operated with two old Fiat ship engines without pollution controls. After hundreds of Freeport and Merrick residents protested operation of the diesel engines, Freeport installed a clean-burning, gas-fired turbine that met all federal and state air-quality regulations.

In 2017, Freeport Electric completed a $2 million upgrade to its LM6000 turbine in order to fulfill the village’s expanding energy demands while making the turbine burn cleaner, while reducing emissions and improving air quality. 

“The engine requires upgrades continuously on this type of equipment, both for emissions and efficiency,” Kennedy said. 

Having its own power plant, Freeport was able to swiftly provide electricity to its residents within 30 minutes of losing power during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

In addition to the new control room, Freeport Electric is also building another microgrid at Power Plant 1. This microgrid will have a capacity of 3.5 megawatts, and be able to provide power instantly to critical infrastructure such as the fire department, police department, and water department, as well as essential businesses such as banks and food stores. 

This means that in the event of an outage, the village will be able to provide power to key businesses and services, ensuring that the community can continue to function in the face of an emergency.