Upgrades to the first of 12 pump-turbines at the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant's 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generation Plant (LPGP) were completed earlier this week, the New York Power Authority has announced.
The upgrades are part of NYPA's 10-year, US$460 million Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) program.
The LEM program will not only see each of the pumped-storage project's turbine units upgraded, but also its generator step-up transformers replaced, which date back to 1961 when the Niagara plant went into service.
NYPA said it will overhaul one turbine unit every eight to nine months, leaving the other 11 LPGP units available for power production. Work on the next unit is expected to begin later this month.
"The completion of work on this first pump-turbine generator marks a significant step in the critical infrastructure upgrade at our Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant," said Joseph Kessler, NYPA senior vice president of Power Generation. "The Power Authority is committed to ensuring that the Niagara Hydroelectric Plant is able to operate at maximum efficiency for decades to come, providing some of the lowest cost electricity in the country to the region's businesses and other customers."
HydroWorld.com reported in August 2012 that NYPA had awarded a two-year contract to Ferguson Electric of Buffalo for assist with the modernization project.
Lewiston is one of two major pumped-storage facilities in New York State. The other - the 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped-Storage Power Project, is also operated by NYPA. Power generated at Lewiston supplements the output of 2,515-MW Robert Moses, which is a conventional hydroelectric plant also included as part of the Niagara project.