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B-G Project Removed From Service as Part of Major Upgrade

Steve Ramsey

September 25, 2006


NORTH BLENHEIM—The New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project was removed from service during the weekend as part of a program to modernize and extend the life of the plant.   

Three of the project’s four pump-generating units are expected to resume operation in mid-November, while the fourth is scheduled to return to service in May 2007, on time to help meet power needs in the peak summer period. 

The temporary shutdown of the entire project last Saturday (Sept. 23) was necessary because operators have reduced the water levels in the facility’s upper reservoir atop Brown Mountain.  Reduced levels are required for replacement or refurbishment  of spherical valves that control the flow of water into the powerhouse.  The first of the four spherical valves will be replaced during the current shutdown, with the others scheduled for refurbishment in succeeding years. 

The four-year, $135 million Life Extension and Modernization program (LEM)  is intended to insure that the Blenheim-Gilboa project operates at maximum efficiency for many years to come.   

Work will include replacement of many of the major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to virtually all other parts.  The work on the first unit is scheduled for completion by next May, with the process repeated for the others beginning in the fall of 2007, 2008 and 2009.  The entire program is to be completed in May 2010. 

The 1,040,000-kilowatt Blenheim-Gilboa project, which began operation in 1973, supplies electricity during periods of greatest consumer demand.  Water released from the upper reservoir plunges 1,200 feet within Brown Mountain to power the four turbine-generators and then flows into a lower reservoir on Schoharie Creek.  At night and on weekends, when demand is lower, water is pumped back to the upper reservoir, using economical electricity from other sources. 

 About NYPA:

 ■    NYPA 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 is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.