Hydro project upgrade included in $1.4 billion for New York renewable projects

Photo courtesy Northbrook Lyons Falls

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has awarded $1.4 billion to “advance 26 large-scale renewable energy projects across New York,” including redeveloping the Lyons Falls Mill hydroelectric facility.

Lyons Falls Mill, on the Black River in Lewis County, will be redeveloped and capacity increased by 3.23 MW. Lyons Falls Mill hydro is adjacent to the Lyons Falls Pulp & Paper Mill site, which has been vacant since 2001. The paper mill was built in 1894, and hydro turbines were added at the site in the 1920s. Northbrook Lyons Falls acquired the hydro facility in 2004.

The redevelopment project, which Northbrook Lyons Falls began in November 2014 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license amendment process and presented to the public in March 2015, would entail an investment of $40 million and was anticipated to double the capacity, taking it from the current 5.4 MW to 11.2 MW.

The plan included building a new powerhouse containing two 5.6-MW turbines, with no modification to the existing dam and no changes to the pond size or elevation. The new facility would continue to operate in run-of-river mode. Northbrook Lyons Falls received the amendment to the Water Quality Certificate in September 2015 and the FERC order amending the license in March 2016.

Northbrook Lyons Falls also owns the 1.15-MW Kosterville and 2-MW Gouldtown hydro facilities on the Moose River.

The Governor said this $1.4 billion is “the single largest commitment to renewable energy by a state in U.S. history.” Other projects included in the 26 are solar and wind. Several of these project will break ground as early as April 2018, and all are expected to be operational by 2022, according to a press release. When the work is completed, more than 1,380 MW of capacity will be added, with annual electricity generation of more than 3.2 million MWh. Additionally, this $1.4 billion investment is expected to spur more than $3 billion of direct investment over the life of the projects.

“These projects represent a significant step in advancing the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard to obtain 50 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030,” the announcement says.

Recipients were chosen from a pool of 88 applications from 30 clean energy developers.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, plans to issue its next solicitation for large-scale renewable energy under the Clean Energy Standard on April 25.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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