GDF Suez says that the start of commercial operation of the Astoria Energy II power plant in New York City will allow it to achieve one of its key objectives in the North American energy market.

GDF Suez subsidiary International Power (IPR) has announced that the 575 MW gas-fired power plant started commercial operations on 1 July. The plant cost $1.3 billion to build and will sell its entire output to the New York Power Authority under a 20-year contract.

IPR-GDF Suez North America has a 30 per cent equity interest in the plant.

New York, New England, Texas and the Mid-Atlantic states are the company’s four key target markets, according to GDF Suez chairman and CEO Gérard Mestrallet. “Developing an enhanced and strategic presence in the high-value New York City market has been a key objective for us,” said Mestrallet. “When we acquired our initial stake in Astoria Energy, the expansion of the project on the adjoining site provided an attractive option to add further value.

“The technology, location, and long-term supply contracts of the Astoria Energy facilities are all solid assets, and are well positioned to meet a strong demand for environmentally sound, in-city power production.”

Philip Cox, CEO of International Power, said, “New York is an attractive market and this project adds to our existing interest in the 575 MW Astoria Energy I facility. Backed by a long-term offtake contract with one of the largest state public power organizations in the US, Astoria Energy II further strengthens our North America portfolio.”