Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project to Undergo $135 Million Modernization
January 13, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHITE PLAINS – The New York Power Authority has
announced it will undertake a four-year, $135 million program to
modernize and extend the life of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage
Power Project here.
“Blenheim-Gilboa has been a vital part of the Power
Authority’s generation mix since it came on line back in 1973,” said
Power Authority Chairman Louis P. Ciminelli. “Because it has proven so
valuable in meeting peak consumer demands over the years, we want to
ensure that it continues to run efficiently and effectively far into the
The program, known as LEM (Life Extension and
Modernization), is expected to officially begin in September 2006 when
the first of the four units will be taken out of service. The plan calls
for the renovation of the first unit to be completed by May of 2007 and
will include replacement of many of the major mechanical and electrical
components of the plant and maintenance and repairs to virtually all
The process will be repeated three times, in the
fall of 2007, 2008 and 2009. The schedule calls for the entire project
to be completed in May 2010.
The work on each unit will require that the water
level of the upper reservoir on top of Brown Mountain will be reduced
each fall to permit replacement of spherical valves that control the
flow of water into the power house.
The Power Authority is working with officials at
SUNY Cobleskill to provide expanded breeding facilities for fish with
the intent of restocking the reservoirs.
Blenheim-Gilboa is a special type of hydroelectric
project that operates like a giant storage battery. In peak demand
periods, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water are released from the
upper reservoir. The water plunges 1,200 feet within the mountain to
power four turbine-generators that can produce more than 1 million
kilowatts of electricity and then flows into a lower reservoir on the
Schoharie Creek. At night and on weekends, when demand is lower, the
water is pumped back to the upper reservoir, using economical
electricity from other sources.
On July 31, 1973, four years and 19 days after the
groundbreaking, the project and the adjacent 650-acre Mine Kill State
Park, were dedicated. About five months later, on Dec. 17, Blenheim-Gilboa
operated at full capacity for the first time.
Within the next several years, the Power Authority
completed development of an educational and cultural complex on the
historic Lansing Manor property adjacent to the project. The project’s
visitors center is housed in a restored 19th-century dairy barn on the
property, while the manor house has been transformed into a museum
operated by NYPA with the Schoharie County Historical Society.
The Lansing Manor-Visitors Center complex is
admission-free and located on Route 30, 17 miles south of Middleburgh
and 5 miles north of Grand Gorge. It is about 50 miles southwest of