The New York Power Authority has returned to service the first unit it overhauled in a modernization program of the 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage project.
Unit 2, which restarted over Memorial Day weekend, was the first unit refurbished in a four-year, $135 million program that began in September 2006 to modernize and extend the life of the project (No. 2685). (HNN 5/18/07)
Initial work on each unit requires that the water level in the project’s upper reservoir be lowered each fall, using cofferdams, to permit replacement of the spherical valves that control the flow of water into the powerhouse. NYPA first shut down all four units in September 2006 to prepare for Unit 2 work, and returned the other units to service two months later.
With the overhaul of Unit 2 now complete, the state-owned utility said all four units would be available this year to meet demand during the peak summer air conditioning months.
In September, NYPA plans to shut Unit 1 for its overhaul. As was the case in 2006, the power authority plans to shut the entire station for part of October and November 2007 to lower the water level of the upper reservoir to prepare for work on the unit. NYPA plans to return Unit 1 to service in May 2008.
The modernization schedule calls for similar work on the other two units �- Units 3 and 4 — to be repeated in fall 2008 and 2009. NYPA expects to complete the overhaul program in May 2010.
The overhaul program includes replacement of major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to most other parts. NYPA intends for the overhauls to enable the project to operate at maximum efficiency for many years. Following overhauls, each unit will have a capacity of 290 MW.
Blenheim-Gilboa entered service in 1973. It is located in the Catskill Mountains, in the towns of Blenheim and Gilboa, about 65 miles southwest of Albany, the state capital.