The New York Power Authority has finished a $298 million, 15-year program to upgrade its 2,515-MW Robert Moses Niagara power plant.
NYPA says the program, completed Dec. 21, involved replacing turbines and retrofitting other components in all 13 generating units of Robert Moses Niagara power plant, the main generating facility of the 2,755-MW Niagara power project (No. 2216). Work began in 1991, and the last of the units was returned to service Dec. 21.
�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,� NYPA Chairman Frank McCullough Jr. said. �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 of western New York, where it already helps to protect some 43,700 jobs.�
NYPA President Timothy Carey said the Niagara project will be critical to meeting New York’s renewable energy targets proposed by Gov. George Pataki in 2003, and adopted by state regulators in 2004. A renewables portfolio standard calls for at least 25 percent of the state’s electricity to come from clean, renewable sources such as hydropower by 2013.
Generating units were removed from service one at a time to permit work on each unit to be completed with minimal effect on the project’s output, NYPA said. That effort included special skills and tools, including flatbed trucks and railcars to haul turbines and transformers.
Upgrade adds total 32 MW of capacity
As a result of the added efficiency, NYPA expects the project will be able to produce an additional 32 MW that will be available on a firm basis. Half of the power is to be provided to municipal and rural cooperative customers. The other half will be used to meet a portion of allocations to local entities included in agreements reached in the Niagara project relicensing process.
In addition to the upgrade of Robert Moses, NYPA completed a $24 million maintenance program in 2006 at the Niagara project’s 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generating plant. That plant supplements the Moses plant’s output during peak demand.
Completion of the Robert Moses upgrade comes as the power authority awaits a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on its application for a 50-year relicense to operate the project. (HNN 8/3/06) The original license is scheduled to expire Aug. 31.
NYPA previously announced plans to use electricity generated at Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant to supply a hydropower-to-hydrogen demonstration project to fuel hydrogen vehicles in the Buffalo/Niagara area of western New York. (HNN 10/6/06)