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NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Project Resumes Power Production

Steve Ramsey

November 15, 2006


GILBOA—The New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project has returned to service after completing the first phase of a program to modernize the plant and extend its life.

One of the project’s four pump-generating units resumed production of electricity on Nov. 13 and two others are expected to do so by Nov. 20.  The fourth unit is scheduled to be available by June 2007, on time to help meet power needs in the peak summer period.

The shutdown of the entire project, which began Sept. 23, was necessary because operators reduced the water levels in the facility’s upper reservoir to permit replacement of a spherical valve that controls the flow of water into the powerhouse.  The project’s three other spherical valves will be refurbished in succeeding years, also requiring temporary shutdowns.

“Our workers at Blenheim-Gilboa have completed an extraordinary undertaking  in which the project was shut down and returned to service in line with an extremely demanding schedule and water management plan,” said Allen Schriver, NYPA’s regional manager for Central New York.  “This bodes well for the success of our overall Life Extension and Modernization [LEM] program.”

Lynn Hait, maintenance resource management superintendent/LEM site coordinator, said, “This accomplishment became a reality through the superb efforts of a dedicated and committed NYPA team.”

The four-year, $135 million Life Extension and Modernization program is intended to ensure 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 June, with the process to be 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, atop Brown Mountain, plunges 1,042 feet within the mountain to power the four turbine-generators, 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.

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