Final Project

group presentation

Vinegar Hill is a site located in Brooklyn, NY in the East River Water Front between Dumbo Park and Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. A site like Vinegar Hill, is still providing its local citizens with a 19th century Federal Style and Greek Revival Style of architecture that is within its homes mixed in between with the industrial buildings. Vinegar Hill also includes The Historic District  which pertains to the Con-Ed. Hudson Ave. Power Plant.
The Con-Ed. Power Plant can be located within Plymouth St. & Hudson Ave. The Con-Ed. Power Plant was constructed in the year 1922, at its time of its peak, it was known as one of the most largest power plant during its completion. As of now, the Power Plant is still maintained by the Con-Ed. corpoaration, serving as a steam and peak capacity electric generating power plant. This 13 acre facility holds about 10 million of its gallons, which is Petroleum Storage, which basically is a clean up in case of any spills or leaks that can be considered hazardous of any kind. It’s main job for the Con-Ed. Power Plant is to be able to supply 3 million pounds of steam, in order to eliminate air pollution, as well as provide steam to Manhattan within an hour, as well for customers within the Con-Ed. Usage Service.

After a fire and explosion at Con Edison’s Farragut sub-station on April 29th of 2012 there was a meeting held by the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association(VHNA) and Con Edison. Throughout this meeting, 22 residents of vinegar hill attended to express their concerns regarding the plants activity and the hazards it could cause the neighborhood. This isn’t the first fire at this sub-station; there have also been incidents in 2011 and 2013 where there’s been a fire/explosion.
According to The New York Times, Con-Edison was asking state utility regulators to approve their plan to sell 3.4 acres of its property to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Although Con Edison doesn’t plan on closing down the Farragut sub-station, they are trying to sell some of the land to the parks nearby so they could expand. So, there is a possibility of expanding the parks in the area.
However, during the meeting between VHNA and Con Edison, they stated that they don’t plan on closing down the sub-station anytime soon. This substation however is going to become obsolete one day since it is steam powered. Also, politicians want to make the sub-station into residential buildings which would eliminate the concept of having a park along the waterfront.
There were many effects caused by the Con Edison’s Power Plant in Vinegar Hill. Its main mission was to pursue environmental excellence, including reducing carbon footprint and other carbon compounds. Con Edison believes in growth of renewable such solar power and wind. While reducing carbon dioxide from the air, it was going to cost a bit more from the community. According to Con Edison, the company has established a strategy on tackling reducing carbon dioxide and other harmful compounds from the air. The five points are 1) Integration of climate change and global warming principles. 2) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 3) Expanding energy efficiency program. 4) Setting goals to reduce regional emission. 5) Advocating for legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that is both proactive and balanced through economy wide integration. If Con Edison feels like a steam powered sub-station is not productive they will be reducing funding for that sub-station until it closes. Yes, the Power Plant in Vinegar Hill is very vital for most of Brooklyn’s residents and a small part of Manhattan but is it worth the amount of fires that have happened in the past? Once again, at one point, there were three fires in the two years between 2011-2013. The fire of 2012 was pretty significant. It released PCBs in the surrounding area, and many of the residents of Vinegar Hill were exposed. This is due by leaks or releases from electrical transformer containing PCBs. Various people were affected by the PCBs leak. I believe that the Power Plant in Vinegar Hill should go. Incidents like these can’t happen again. It hasn’t happened in the past four years but who knows when it will happen again. It’s better safe than sorry. What we suggest is replace the Power Plant into a Hall of Science in Vinegar Hill. The Hall of Science in Queens is funded by Con Edison, putting a Hall of Science would and still bring money to Con Edison. We believe that this would be great for residents of Vinegar Hill to have something to enjoy near the community and getting rid of the eyesore of the Power Plant. With people coming to see the Hall of Science, it will bring profits. These profits can be used to renovate some of the unused and gated up spaces in Vinegar Hill. But we also must look at the crime rates of Vinegar Hill. I searched on a website called Truila and it showed me how safe Vinegar Hill and the Hall of Science in Queens was. Green being the safest and red being not safe, both Vinegar Hill and the Hall of Science in Queens is marked green being the safest. Putting another Hall of Science in Vinegar wouldn’t bring any crimes. Having a Hall of Science would benefit a lot of people especially the community of Vinegar Hill. Benefits such as, bringing more people to visit Vinegar Hill, bring profits to fix unused areas in Vinegar Hill, get rid of the Power Plant which won’t prevent guest from looking over the beautiful waterfront view and most importantly, stops the random fires happening around the community. In conclusion, with the Power Plant gone it will bring plenty of attention to Vinegar Hill but no plans of getting rid the Power Plant has be announced. The Power Plant is going to stay for as long as it provides power to parts of Brooklyn and small portion of Manhattan.
However, if hypothetically the powerplant were removed and replaced, it obviously wouldn’t be for free. This section of the project will concentrate on the vinegar hill substation owned by Con-edison and its finances. For this first subsection of the project, the finances of Con-Ed’s current situation will be analyzed and the possibilities of an educational institution will be estimated and also analyzed. The Con-Edison corporation is one of the largest energy corporations in the world, and they provide electricity for over 10 million people in New York. Con-ed provides energy in three forms; gas, electricity, and steam. The Substation in vinegar Hill produced power with coal burning, and steam, which is evident from the smoke stacks. Unfortunately, four of these stacks had to be removed based on a permit issued by the state of New York because the factory was creating too much pollution. This removal was obviously not free and cost the Con-Ed corp a lot of money, in-fact the maintainance and upkeep of this “useless substation” costs ConEdison around 2.48 million dollars a year, and these expenses do not include the costs of the stacks removal, and other procedures the station needs to do to keep up to date on the environmental laws in New York. In my opinion, this money is wasted because the substation has cased nothing but trouble because there have been several fires and explosions within the facility. However, this money can be used to remodel the substation into a hall of science or a museum, this will not only reduce the costs for maintaining the old substation, but it will bring a lot of profit for Con-Edison.
The Vinegar hill substation should be “transformed” into one of these institutions because the company should put more money into the community due to the little money the company currently donates to the state of New York. The benefits of such institutes doesn’t just make money for Con-Ed, but it will create more jobs, increase the interest of education in the area, create more revenue for the community of Vinegar Hill, and could inspire countless engineers to make a better tomorrow.