The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in energy supply and demand patterns. Crude oil prices have fallen significantly since the beginning of 2020, largely driven by the economic contraction caused by COVID-19 and a sudden increase in crude oil supply following the suspension of previously agreed upon production cuts among the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and partner countries.

The EIA (Energy Information Admin.) expects retail sales of electricity to the industrial sector will fall by 4.2% in 2020 as many factories cut back production. Sales of electricity to the residential sector should fall by 0.8% in 2020, as reduced power usage resulting from milder winter and summer weather is offset by increased household electricity consumption as much of the population stays at home.

But capacity needs to be ready for the expected revival of industry and businesses across the country. “Clean and green” might be the mantra as companies seek ways to provide the necessary electric power in growing areas while maintaining the least environmentally damaging facilities. For example, one million additional homes in New York state will receive low-carbon, affordable, safe, and reliable power from the newly completed Cricket Valley Energy Center, built by Bechtel. The 1,100-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle plant in Dover, New York, uses advanced emissions-control technology to ensure it operates as one of the most efficient power-generation facilities in the country.

The Cricket Valley Energy Center uses an efficient, environmentally responsible process of converting clean-burning natural gas to electricity. The station uses three combustion turbines, each paired with a heat recovery steam generator and steam turbine generator. Unlike older combined-cycle power plants, the facility is equipped with state-of-the-art emission-control technology that significantly reduces emissions.

Bechtel began construction at Cricket Valley Energy Center in July 2017. The combustion turbines, heat recovery steam generators, steam turbines, and other ancillary equipment for the plant was supplied by General Electric.

The facility was built to minimize the visual and noise impacts to surrounding residents while significantly contributing to the local economy by awarding more than $400 million in engineering, procurement, and construction contracts to local businesses and spending an additional $8 million with 147 local suppliers. At the peak of construction, the project employed more than 1,100 people, the majority of whom were hired locally. The completed plant will support 25 permanent jobs.

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