Ravenswood Generating Station gets new name reflecting green energy changes

Among the changes at the power plant known as Big Allis is a new name that reflects its transition to clean energy infrastructure. (QNS/File)

For more than half a century the Ravenswood Generating Station has dominated the western Queens landscape known locally as Big Allis. But now it is undergoing a name change.

Ravenswood Generating, a New York-based subsidiary of LS Power that owns and operates the behemoth, which is the city’s largest power plant, announced it will be rebranded as “Rise Light & Power” to reflect its expanded commitment to the Empire State’s transition to green energy.

“LS Power is proud to be a part of New York’s transition to clean energy,” LS Power CEO Paul Segal said. “By launching Rise Light & Power, our goal is to reassert our commitment to directing our efforts and capital toward enabling an affordable energy transition while maintaining essential reliable electric service.”

Since acquiring the Ravenswood Generating Station in 2017, LS Power has invested more than $160 million in modernization and resiliency upgrades for the Long Island City facility and removed a large number of fossil-fired peakers from service to make way for new clean energy infrastructure.

“Ravenswood has been a valued member of the LongIsland City business community for decades,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “I am confident that as Rise, the company’s renewed commitment will deepen its impact. As our community works to build back from the COVID pandemic, we are going to need leaders like Rise to help us pave the way toward a stronger, healthier future.”

The power plant is located on the East River waterfront directly across Vernon Boulevard from the Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing development.

“I have been a resident of Queensbridge Houses for almost 59 years, and the new administration of RGS, now recognized as Rise Light & Power, is the first to ever engage with the community on our thoughts and needs,” Queensbridge Houses Resident Association President April Simpson said. “They have truly made a difference in our lives, whether by initiating cleaner energy or distributing food, groceries, and toys. Rise Light & Power is truly a blessing for the community.”

The Ravenswood Generating Station has been in service since 1963 as a steam energy generating facility that provides more than twenty percent of the city’s generation capacity. It has also contributed to the area becoming known as “Asthma Alley” for his disproportionately high respiratory ailment rates.

“As a life-long resident of Long Island City and a part of a family that has dedicated its life to service in Northwestern Queens and beyond, I am more than encouraged to see the evolution of Rise Light & Power,” Urban Upbound Co-Founder and CEO Bishop Mitchell Taylor said. “With the community suffering from a high concentration of asthma and respiratory issues, it is imperative for us to turn to clean energy infrastructure. Rise Light & Power has demonstrated its commitment to large-scale reform by removing a number of fossil-fired peakers.”

Among the changes at the 28-acre station is a large-scale battery storage facility that officials say will advance New York’s economic development goals and help fulfill Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of transitioning 70 percent of electric generation to renewable energy by 2030.

“New York has ambitious goals to transition to clean energy, which will be good for the environment, good for the economy, and good for working families,” Alliance for Clean Energy New York Executive Director Anne Reynold said. “But it will take private companies able to imagine new ways to reliably provide clean power to all New Yorkers and willing to seriously invest in New York. That’s why we’re excited by the vision of Rise Light & Power and look forward to working with them as partners in this transition over the coming years.”

Tom Grech, the President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, supports the changes at the facility.

“Now more than ever, Queens needs aggressive action to help drive economic development, foster growth and innovation and support good-paying middle-class jobs,” Grech said. “Rise Light & Power will be an important partner in this effort.”