New York Power Authority displays original turbine runner at visitors center

A 90-ton turbine runner replaced during an upgrade of the Blenheim-Gilboa pumped-storage hydroelectric project has found a new home outside the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center.

The original runner was transported to the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center and was lifted by crane onto a concrete base on the center grounds. A new, custom-designed, 90-ton, 20-foot-wide runner arrived at the Blenheim-Gilboa project as a replacement.

Replacement of the plant’s four turbine runners with a new, higher-efficiency design is a major part of the Blenheim-Gilboa hydro project’s four-year Life Extension and Modernization Program (LEM) and the most significant factor in increasing the maximum capacity of each of the plant’s four turbine generators from 260 MW to approximately 290 MW, the NYPA reported.

At the conclusion of the LEM program, scheduled for completion in June 2010, it is projected that the Blenheim-Gilboa project, rated originally at 1,040 MW, will be capable of producing approximately 1,160 MW of electricity, the NYPA reported.

The turbine runner placed on display is one of four that generated more than 48 million MWh of power between June 1973 when the plant was commissioned and September 2010, when this runner, the last of the original runners, was removed from service. The electricity generated by 48 million MWh is enough to power all of New York City for nearly one year.

The other three runners replaced earlier in the LEM process were recycled as part of the project scope.

The LEM program marks the first time the pumped-storage project has been upgraded with new turbines since it went into service in 1973. The $135 million upgrade will allow the Blenheim-Gilboa project to produce more power from the same amount of water.

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