NYPA Trustees Award Contract to Buffalo Company | Business
WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Trustees on Tuesday approved a nearly $1.6 million contract award to Ferguson Electric of Buffalo to assist in the Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) program at the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant (LPGP). The LEM program is designed to refurbish and modernize the facility, enhancing the pumped-storage project’s performance and extending its working life years into the future.
The scope-of-work under the new contract includes the design, manufacture, delivery and installation of the Isolated Phase Bus and Phase Reversal Switch—electrical equipment and related components designed to carry very large currents—which are scheduled to be delivered in late 2012.
“The contract award to Ferguson Electric is an instrumental step toward our carrying out this large-scale overhaul at the Niagara project’s Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant,” said Joseph Kessler, regional manager, Western New York. “The Power Authority is dedicated to ensuring that the Niagara project continues to operate at maximum efficiency in providing some of the lowest cost electricity in the country to the region’s businesses and other customers. The refurbishing of the Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant, the hydroelectric project’s auxiliary facility, is consistent with this priority.”
In June 2010, the NYPA Trustees approved the investment of $460 million for the LPGP LEM, a 10-year program that will include major upgrades to all 12 pump-turbines and the replacement of generator step-up transformers, which date back to 1961 when the Niagara project went into service. The upgrades of the pump-turbine units will start in December.
The unit work will occur under a schedule providing for the overhaul of a pump-turbine every eight to nine months, with the final unit completed in 2020. The phased schedule provides for 11 of the 12 LPGP units to be available for operation during the LEM so that NYPA can meet its commitments to its power-supply customers.
Pumped-storage facilities like the LPGP store water as potential energy during off-peak hours for later use when demand is higher. The principal benefits are retiming of generation and providing the ability to quickly respond to changes in customer demand.
At night or on weekends, when electricity demand is low, the pumped-generating plant’s reversible pump-turbine generating units operate as pumps, transporting water from the Niagara project’s forebay up to the Lewiston plant’s 22-billion-gallon upper reservoir, which is approximately 70 to 120 feet higher in elevation. Surplus electricity from the Moses plant, the project’s main generating facility, is used to power the pumps to push water into the Lewiston Reservoir during the off-peak times.
During the daytime, when electricity use peaks, the pumps are reversed and become generators similar to the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, essentially allowing Niagara River water to be used to produce electricity twice, with the same water flowing through the Lewiston generators and then the generating units at the Moses plant, which also capture the potential energy of the water diverted from the river in real-time.
In 2006, NYPA completed a $24 million maintenance program at LPGP in the same year that it finished a $298 million, 15-year program to upgrade the Moses plant, where the Power Authority replaced turbines and retrofitted other components of all 13 generating units.
Together, LPGP and the Moses plant combine for a net dependable capability of 2,441 mw, making the Niagara project the largest generating facility in the state and one of the largest in the country.
LPGP is one of two major pumped storage facilities in New York State—the other being the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project, another NYPA facility. In May 2010, the Authority completed a four-year overhaul of that facility, in the northern Catskills.
For more information, visit www.nypa.gov
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