Power to the people: Kings Plaza hooks in-house power plant to the grid to prevent blackouts

Power to the people: Kings Plaza hooks in-house power plant to the grid to prevent blackouts
Photo by Derrick Watterson

The king of Mill Basin retail is sharing its power!

Kings Plaza Shopping Center celebrated a partnership with Con Edison on Tuesday to prevent blackouts by providing energy generated by the mall’s in-house power plants to surrounding neighborhoods.

The retail complex is equipped with four natural-gas powered Deutz engines that generate 12 megawatts of energy, which — while less than one tenth of a percent of the 1.21 gigawatts needed to power the time machine from “Back to the Future” — is twice as much power required to fuel the shopping center’s more than 120 stores.

So the honchos at Macerich — the real estate investment trust that owns Kings Plaza — decided to partner with Con Edison to hook the mall’s power plant up to the city’s grid, giving the utility company the option of purchasing power from the mall and thereby tripling the capacity of Brooklyn’s Demand Response Program, which relieves stress during peak electrical demand.

“We are powered by roughly six megawatts, we’re giving the six we don’t use back to the community.” said Joseph Venne, Vice President of Operations at Macerich. “Now, hopefully, we can look forward to blackouts not happening nearly as often in the future.”

While the partnership was celebrated earlier this week, Kings Plaza generators actually began supplying the city with power on June 1, proving the extra supply wasn’t enough to prevent the days long blackouts that struck southern Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Canarsie, Mill Basin, and Marine Park in late July, a fact Venne attribute to the brutal heat wave that proceeded the loss of power.

“We know how important energy is with the outages, this summer being more severe than most,” he said.

Still, it’s better than nothing, and Mill Basin Councilman Alan Maisel applauded the mall for sharing its juice with Brooklyn.

“King’s plaza, over the past few years, has really tried to make themselves part of the community,” said Maisel. “This is a great example of that. They’re being a good neighbor.”