NYPA Completes Upgrade on First of 12 Turbine-Generator Units at Niagara Plant’s Lewiston Pump-Generating Facility
Work on Second Unit to Begin this Month

Paul DeMichele
(914) 390-8186

October 7, 2013


Photo and Caption

LEWISTON—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has upgraded the first of 12 pump-turbines at the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant’s Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant (LPGP) as part of a 10-year, $460 million Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) program, which began late last year.

“The LPGP upgrade is in line with Governor Cuomo’s emphasis on modernizing the state’s electric power system to optimize its performance and reliability,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant is one of the state’s premier electric power assets in terms of the enormity of its low-cost, emission-free power production. That value is being enhanced by our major ongoing investment on the multiyear upgrade at LPGP.”

“The completion of work on this first pump-turbine generator marks a significant step in the critical infrastructure upgrade at our Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant,” said Joseph Kessler, NYPA senior vice president for Power Generation. “The Power Authority is committed to ensuring that the Niagara Hydroelectric Plant is able to operate at maximum efficiency for decades to come, providing some of the lowest cost electricity in the country to the region’s businesses and other customers.”

The modernization at LPGP provides for the upgrade of the facility’s 12 pump-turbines and the replacement of generator step-up transformers, which date back to 1961 when the Niagara plant went into service. The next pump-turbine unit is scheduled to be taken out of service later this month.

LPGP provides electricity during periods of peak power demand, supplementing the output of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the main generating facility. The work at LPGP will overhaul one pump-turbine every eight to nine months, ensuring that 11 of the 12 LPGP turbine units are available for operation during the upgrade so that NYPA can meet commitments to its power customers.

Work on the plant’s refurbishing includes contract awards to Ferguson Electric of Buffalo, the largest electrical contractor in Western New York.

Pumped-storage facilities like LPGP store water as potential energy during off-peak hours for later use when demand is higher. At night or on weekends, when electricity demand is low, the pumped-generating plant’s reversible pump-turbine generating units operate as pumps, transporting water from the Niagara project’s forebay up to the Lewiston plant’s 22-billion-gallon upper reservoir, which is approximately 70 to 120 feet higher in elevation. Surplus electricity from the Moses plant is used to power the pumps to push water into the Lewiston Reservoir during the off-peak times.

During the daytime, when electricity use peaks, the pumps are reversed and become generators allowing Niagara River water to be used to produce electricity twice, with the same water flowing through the Lewiston pump-turbines and then the generating units at the Moses plant.

Together, the Moses plant and LPGP combine for a net dependable capability of 2,441 megawatts (mw), making the Niagara plant the largest generating facility in the state and one of the largest in the country. (One MW is enough electricity to meet the power needs of 800 to 1,000 typical homes.)

LPGP is one of two major pumped storage facilities in New York State—the other being the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant, in the northern Catskills, another NYPA facility. In May 2010, the Power Authority completed a four-year overhaul of that facility.


About NYPA:

The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA has been designated as the lead entity via Executive Order 88 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to form a central management and implementation plan to carry out his Build Smart NY plan to reduce energy use by state facilities 20 percent by 2020. ■ NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities in various parts of New York State, participation in a unique public/private partnership to contract for power from a clean generating plant in Queens, and its operation of more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■ For more information visit or follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Wordpress, and LinkedIn.


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