Storm prep: NYPA and NYS Canal Corporation braced for Tropical Storm Henri

Blenheim-Gilboa hydro

The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation reported on proactive steps to prepare for response related to Tropical Storm Henri, especially in the Mohawk Valley and in southeastern New York. The storm made landfall Sunday in Rhode Island, bringing substantial rain and power outages.

At its 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant in Schoharie County, NYPA positioned water levels in both its upper and lower reservoirs to provide optimal flexibility and functionality in preparation for potential high-water flows from this storm. NYPA’s site operations staff performed the facility’s storm preparation procedures and inspected and tested equipment. Staff were positioned to continue to ready the facility for storm response, as needed.

NYPA also made a request to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to preemptively reduce the water level of the Schoharie Reservoir to minimize, to the extent possible, the potential downstream flood impacts associated with Tropical Storm Henri. NYPA and DEP are committed to minimizing downstream flood impacts, and these efforts will not result in negative operational impacts to NYPA and DEP assets, according to a release.

In preparation for potential impacts from Tropical Storm Henri, the New York State Canal Corporation lifted its movable dams along the Erie Canal and Mohawk River between Lock E-8 in Rotterdam and Lock E-15 in Fort Plain. Lifting the dams will lower water levels and is a necessary action to mitigate the risk of potential flooding in this area. The initial lowering of water levels throughout this area began on Saturday, with the lifting of the movable dams having begun at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.

In addition, the Canal Corporation took preemptive measures to create additional storage capacity in Hinckley and Delta reservoirs in anticipation of precipitation from Tropical Storm Henri.

Throughout the weekend, NYPA secured and prepared all transmission and generation assets and prepared to support power restoration activities in storm-affected areas as needed.

NYPA activated its organization-wide Incident Command System (ICS) response operations in White Plains and set up regional ICS commands in expected areas of impact, including in southeastern New York and the Mohawk Valley. NYPA’s transmission operations team activated and positioned staff, including line crews and drone pilots to assess any damage, in potentially affected areas.

NYPA also made outreach through mutual aid agreements to ensure partner utilities can rely on NYPA for assistance. NYPA’s electrical contractors on retainer made their contractors available to assist with storm preparations and response efforts. NYPA collaborated with its 51 municipal utilities and cooperatives outside potentially affected areas to be ready to assist impacted utilities as needed.

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the U.S., operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower.

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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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