First Unit in St. Lawrence-FDR Project Overhaul Successfully Re-Enters Every Day Service

Bob Hadler
315-764-0226, ext. 300

April 22, 2002


MASSENA—Louis P. Ciminelli, acting chairman of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), announced Monday that the first turbine-generator unit to be refurbished in the Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project began continuous service producing electricity on Saturday, April 6, at 10:15pm.

“The successful re-entry to New York’s electric grid of the first generating unit to undergo the Power Authority’s LEM is a true testament to the knowledge, expertise and skills of the people at the Power Authority with special recognition to those at our St. Lawrence-FDR Project,” said Ciminelli.  “The dedication, cooperation, and talents of many unions, trades and professional staff members, made this historic undertaking possible and we take great pride in knowing the lion’s share of the work was performed by NYPA employees who are representative of the high quality work force in the North Country.”

LEM, a 15-year $254 million program, began with engineering in 1998 and is expected to conclude in 2013.  The project continues to produce electricity while the work is being done .  Under this ambitious program, most of the original 40 plus year-old equipment in the power house of the Robert Moses Power Dam will be replaced or renovated to ensure reliable power production for the future.  LEM represents the Power Authority’s commitment to responsibly caring for the St. Lawrence-FDR Project, a vital asset for the North Country economy.

The refurbished equipment, Unit 26, was taken out of service in September 2000.  The disassembly of Unit 26 marked the first time since the plant began operating in the 1950s that any unit has ever been completely taken apart.  Unit 26 received its new turbine last summer and was also outfitted with a new generator breaker, new exciter and a new control system.  All 16 units will receive new turbines, the major unit component, as part of LEM.

“A track-record of over 40-years of reliable service is outstanding by any industry standard and is a reflection of the top quality maintenance provided by the St. Lawrence-FDR Project staff to these units, which are so essential to Governor Pataki’s low-cost energy strategy that preserves North Country jobs,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA’s president and chief operating officer.  “What is also truly remarkable is the impressive safety record achieved during this overhaul.  Even while combining work performed for daily operations with the new and different work needed for this first LEM overhaul, on this past April 4, project staff completed two years of work without a lost time accident.”

Part of the process of re-installing Unit 26, was a re-alignment in the turbine housing to compensate for normal geological changes in the dam structure.  This work alone involved several months of machining operations.  While Unit 26 was running for several weeks in testing, Saturday, April 6, marked the first time it entered continuous service.  Several months of additional testing is expected.

Unit 17, the next unit scheduled for LEM, was taken out of service on April 8 and is tentatively expected to re-enter service by January 2003.  While these initial two units will experience somewhat lengthy outages, this has been planned to give project staff the opportunity to gain knowledge for future LEM refurbishments.  It is expected that after Unit 17 is completed, about three units will be refurbished every two years until all 16 are completed, as scheduling is also influenced by river flows, power demand and additional findings on the condition of the units.