NYPA Completes Upgrade of Niagara
December 21, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEWISTON—A $298 million, 15-year program to upgrade
the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) Niagara Power Project was
completed Thursday (Dec. 21).
The initiative will enable the 2,400-megawatt
project, the largest electricity producer in New York State and one
of the largest in the nation, to operate at maximum efficiency for
many years to come.
Highlights of the program included replacement of
the turbines and retrofitting of other components of all 13
generating units at the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the
project’s main generating facility. Work on the first of the 13
units began in 1991; the last returned to service Thursday.
“We are extremely gratified by the results of this
program, which was designed and managed by the Power Authority’s
Engineering and Project Management organizations and carried out
largely by our staff at the Niagara project,” said NYPA Chairman
Frank S. McCullough, Jr. “Thanks to their efforts, this great power
project is poised to remain a vital source of clean, low-cost
electricity and a bulwark of the economy in Western New York, where
it already helps to protect some 43,700 jobs.”
Timothy S. Carey, NYPA’s president and chief
executive officer, said, “The upgrade demonstrates that we take our
responsibility as owner and operator of the Niagara Power Project
very seriously and that we are determined to be responsible stewards
of this invaluable public resource that produces some of the least
expensive electricity in the United States.”
Carey noted that continued successful operation of
the Niagara project will be critical to New York State’s effort to
meet ambitious renewable energy targets proposed by Gov. George E.
Pataki in 2003 and adopted by the state Public Service Commission
the following year. The Renewable Portfolio Standard calls for at
least 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from clean,
renewable sources such as hydroelectric power by 2013.
The Niagara upgrade was designed both to improve
the plant’s efficiency and to carry out repairs that would have been
required in any case to ensure effective long-term operation. The
13 generating units were removed from service one at a time to
permit completion of the work on each with only minimal effect on
the project’s output.
The effort required special skills and tools,
including flatbed trucks and railcars to haul turbines and
transformers. A large gantry crane hefted the giant turbines and
swung them into place. Rotors and turbines, each as large as a
house, were joined and centered in stators. Cooling pipes were
added, transformers installed, wicket gates aligned, and modern
computer control systems and sensors set in place.
The weight of each of the finished 13 generating
units was over 900 tons.
Because of the added efficiency, it is expected
that the project will be able to produce about 32 additional
megawatts of power that will be available on a firm, or assured,
Half of this power will be provided to municipal
and rural cooperative customers as required by federal law. The
remainder is expected to be used for a portion of the allocations to
be made to local entities as part of agreements reached in the
Niagara project relicensing process.
Completion of the upgrade comes as the Power
Authority awaits a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission on its application for a new 50-year operating license
for the project. The original license expires in August 2007.
“A new license will give us the right to continue
operating the project,” Carey said. “The upgrade goes beyond even
that by ensuring that we will meet our responsibility to do so as
efficiently and effectively as we possibly can.”
In addition to the upgrade at the Moses plant, the
Power Authority earlier this year completed a $24 million
maintenance program at the Niagara project’s Lewiston
Pump-Generating Plant, which supplements the Moses plant’s output in
peak demand periods.
■ 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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