NYPA prepares for upgrade of 1,160-MW Blenheim Gilboa

The New York Power Authority removed its 1,160-MW Blenheim Gilboa Pumped-Storage project from service in September as part of a $135 million program to modernize and extend the life of the power plant.

NYPA said the project was temporarily shut down Sept. 23 while operators reduced water levels in the facility’s upper reservoir, on Schoharie Creek near Blenheim and Gilboa, N.Y.

Reduced water levels are needed for replacement or refurbishment of spherical valves that control the flow of water through the powerhouse. The first of the spherical valves will be replaced during the current shutdown; three other valves are scheduled for refurbishment in future years, the utility said.

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

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year approved NYPA’s plan to rehabilitate four pump-turbines and motor-generators at Blenheim Gilboa (No. 2685), and authorized it to increase generating capacity. (HNN 5/9/06) Over four years, NYPA will add 160 MW to the current generating capacity of 1,000 MW and improve generating efficiency by about 7 percent. The entire modernization and life extension program is to be completed in May 2010.

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