Entergy has announced its intention to build a 360MWe gas-fired plant on the Indian Point site.

The eight 45MWe gas units would produce electricity during the summer and other peak periods when the two nuclear units are pushed to capacity. The gas units would be housed in a single structure on a site that is now used as a car park. The $250 million project should be completed in the spring of 2004, said Entergy spokesman Jim Steets.

Representative Sue Kelly, a Republican who represents the Buchanan area said: “What’s important is making sure that we have enough energy to power up the energy needs for now and the future.” She said the gas-fired plant is a promising idea that needed to be looked into thoroughly.

The plans come at a sensitive time for Indian Point. Some local officials have called for the temporary closure of the plant, fearful that they could become terrorist targets. Also, the Westchester County Legislature has ordered a feasibility study on converting the nuclear operation to gas. More recently, some legislators began to circulate petitions demanding that the gas plants be blocked unless Indian Point abandons or converts its nuclear operations.

The proposed project is subject to Article X approval by the New York Public Service Commission, which includes an approximately two-year long public information process. Mike Kansler, senior vice president and CEO of Entergy Nuclear Northeast said: “We’re planning public information meetings for later this year and we will be announcing the dates very soon. We’re very interested in hearing from the community.”