UPDATE – N.Y. storm clouds have silver lining: record hydro GWh

The hydropower projects of New York State Electric &Gas and Rochester Gas &Electric generated their highest amounts in 20 years and 15 years in 2006, thanks to storm-driven river volumes and strategic plant investments.

The two utility subsidiaries of Energy East Corp. said Jan. 17 that record precipitation in New York in 2006 increased the volume of water in rivers, boosting hydro generation accordingly.

NYSEG said its 38.91-MW Saranac River plants (No. 2738) High Falls, Cadyville, Mill C, and Kents Falls; its 2.64-MW Rainbow Falls plant (No. 2835) on the Ausable River; and the 17.4-MW Upper Mechanicville plant (No. 2934) on the Hudson River produced more than 360 gigawatt-hours in 2006. That is a 10 percent increase over 2005, and represents the most electricity produced at the plants in more than 20 years.

RG&E’s three hydro plants on the Genesee River produced 260 GWh in 2006, a 21 percent increase over 2005, and the most electricity produced at those plants in nearly 15 years. The projects are 7.5-MW Station No. 2 (No. 2582), 43.74-MW Station No. 5 (No. 2583), and 3-MW Station No. 26 (No. 2584).

The companies said electricity generated at their hydro plants in 2006 benefited the environment by avoiding nearly 408,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 2,100 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 570 tons of nitrogen oxides emissions. The CO2 emissions avoided are the equivalent of planting 55 million trees, or avoiding more than 700 million miles of automobile use.

To ensure optimal performance, the companies said they would continue to invest in equipment upgrades at the plants.

�We are committed to doing all that we can to protect the environment, and our investment in our hydroelectric generating stations is a testament to that commitment,� NYSEG and RG&E President Jim Laurito said. �We are proud of these plants and the people who maintain and operate them, and we will continue to focus on maximizing the output of these environmentally friendly plants.�
(Correcting designation of Upper Mechanicville plant)

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