NYPA Continues Providing Reliable, Lower Cost Electricity and Community Service to Benefit Schoharie Region

Steve Ramsey

January 16, 2003


GILBOA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA), in 2002, continued its efforts to deliver reliable, economical electricity which included its responsible stewardship of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project where the Brown Mountain slope stabilization program was completed ensuring the project’s future integrity needed to meet New York’s energy demands.

Complimenting that effort and highlighting NYPA’s longstanding role in the Schoharie County community was this year’s grand reopening of the newly renovated Lansing Manor which returned, in splendid fashion, an essential element to the area’s tourism industry.

In addition, NYPA’s continuing economic development programs allocating lower cost power have created or protected over 36,000 jobs in the Mohawk Valley and Capital Regions.  The installation of energy efficient equipment through NYPA’s Energy Services program are saving municipalities in this area more than $3.5 million a year on their energy bills reducing the cost of government for taxpayers plus also reducing emissions to help improve air quality.

Under Governor Pataki’s leadership, these and other programs made important contributions to the state’s economy and environment, along with key generating facilities like NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Project, with over 1 million kilowatts of capacity, that plays a vital role producing economical electricity and for meeting peak power demands.

“We put our shoulders to the wheel this year to complete the Brown Mountain work that not only improves project safety necessary for generating electricity but also improves the environment by creating almost 6 acres of new wetlands,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, president and chief executive officer, NYPA.  “The Power Authority’s commitment to being a good neighbor was emphasized with this year’s stunning renovation to Lansing Manor, one of New York’s great historic homes, to further enhance this area’s vital tourist economy.”

The stabilization of Brown Mountain, with reservoirs top and bottom for the water used to generate electricity at the Blenheim-Gilboa Project, was successfully completed in summer 2002.  A large expanse of Brown Mountain’s surface was eroding into the lower reservoir and showed potential for a landslide that would compromise transmission lines, the project’s access road and personal safety in the area.  A rock berm installed by NYPA near the lower reservoir shoreline redirects the reservoir’s excess surface water preventing future erosion.

The Wildlife Habitat Council certified the six additional acres of wetlands resulting from the Brown Mountain project and recognized NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Project for its “commendable efforts toward the restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat.”

On June 8, ceremonies were held for the reopening of a thoroughly restored and renovated historic Lansing Manor, an early 19th Century mansion on the Blenheim-Gilboa Project grounds.  This $600,000 renovation included interior and exterior painting and other decorative work to improve historic accuracy, added climate controls and installed better weather proofing.  Built in 1819 by John Ten Eyck Lansing who played a major role in the development of New York, Lansing Manor was first restored and opened to the public in 1977 by NYPA.

Several lower cost power allocation programs including the Economic Development Power program and Power for Jobs administered by NYPA continued to have a major influence, with companies promising to create or protect jobs in return for allocations.

Power for Jobs, introduced by Governor Pataki in 1997, is now responsible for more than 30,000 jobs at almost 115 businesses, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations in the Mohawk Valley and Capital Regions.  In 2002, Power for Jobs recipients in Schoharie County were Bassett Hospital of Schoharie County, 218 jobs; Kintz Plastics, Inc. of Howes Cave, 127 jobs and Mill Services, Inc. of Cobleskill, 53 jobs.

NYPA’s expenditures on energy efficiency measures—realized through NYPA’s Energy Services program—for schools, government buildings and other public facilities—during 2002 exceeded $100 million, more than 2 ½ times the total for 1994 the last year before Governor Pataki took office.  The improvements are saving New York taxpayers over $80 million annually on the energy bills for these buildings and have included installation of high-efficiency lighting and new heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, and energy management systems.

Several energy services projects completed by NYPA in 2002 include over $3.1 million in energy efficiency improvements at 18 schools in the Albany City School District and almost $200,000 in energy improvements for several fire stations in the Utica Fire District.

Energy conservation projects for the water treatment facility in the Village of Middleburg and a Town of Middleburg garage, initiated by Senator James L. Seward, were completed in 2002 with funding provided from the Petroleum Overcharge Restitution Fund which is administered through NYPA.

Steven DeCarlo of Cobleskill, was named NYPA’s regional manager for Central New York in November and is based at the Blenheim-Gilboa Project.  He succeeds Guilderland resident James McCarthy, who served as regional manager since 1984.  DeCarlo is responsible of all Central Region Operations inclusive of the Blenheim-Gilboa Project and all of NYPA’s small hydropower facilities with the exception of the Kensico Project.

A contract employee’s life was saved by NYPA staff at the Blenheim-Gilboa Project this past October when he went into cardiac arrest and the Blenheim-Gilboa response team was unable to find a pulse.  With the help of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), which analyzes the heart’s rhythm for abnormalities, the response team was able to deliver an electrical shock through pads attached to the man’s chest, saving his life.

AED’s, and training in their use, are available at the Blenheim-Gilboa Project and in various parts of Central New York due to the efforts this year’s Volunteer-of-the-Year, the recently retired Karen Hinkley, of Grand Gorge, a former secretary in NYPA’s Power Generation unit.  Hinkley, also a member of the Blenheim-Gilboa response team, was on the Grand Gorge Rescue Squad for approximately 20 years, serving as captain, treasurer and secretary.  She is certified as a New York State Emergency Medical Technician and as an AED instructor.

In other initiatives and developments involving the Power Authority in 2002:

  • Governor Pataki announced an historic agreement between environmentalists, local officials and NYPA to build a new 500-megawatt (mw) combined cycle power plant power in Queens adjacent to NYPA’s 25-year old Charles Poletti Power Project which would be closed.  The new plant will be one of the cleanest, most efficient plants in New York City’s history.

  • Governor Pataki announced complete allocation of 80,000 kilowatts of World Trade Center Economic Recovery Power, to more than 50 enterprises supporting over 43,000 jobs in Lower Manhattan’s Liberty and Resurgence Zones.

  • NYPA continued its multi-year Life Extension and Modernization program at St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project in Massena where the first of the project’s 16 turbines was replaced with a more efficient unit and the second is nearing completion in the next few weeks.  Similar work at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston is also continuing with nine of the 13 turbine generators upgraded as of 2002.

  • In July, Governor Pataki signed legislation extending the highly successful Power for Job Program which now links allocations of lower-cost power to over 300,000 jobs at more than 700 businesses and non-profits statewide.

  • Governor Pataki presented $4 million to municipalities and schools districts in St. Lawrence County, the initial payment of a Community Enhancement Fund established as part of NYPA’s efforts to secure support for a new federal license to continue operating the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved NYPA’s request for use of the alternative licensing procedure to seek a new federal license to continue operating the Niagara Power Project.  Following that, NYPA filed a formal notice of intent, with FERC, to seek a new license.

  • Governor Pataki announced reallocation of low-cost replacement power generated at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project to 17 Western New York companies willing to invest over $85 million to expand their operations and create 545 new jobs.

  • Louis P. Ciminelli, of Buffalo, was elected as Chairman by his fellow NYPA Trustees in April.  The following month, Clifton Park resident Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA’s president, was appointed chief executive officer.

  • The Power Authority agreed to sell over $530 million in bonds this past October.