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N.Y. Power Authority Marks 25th Anniversary of Frederick R. Clark Energy Center

Michael Saltzman                        
(914) 390-8181

September 9, 2005


UTICA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Friday marked the 25th anniversary of the Frederick R. Clark Energy Center in Marcy, whose Energy Control Center (ECC) directs and monitors the Authority’s statewide operations, consisting of 17 generating plants and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of high-voltage transmission lines.

“The Energy Control Center is the command station for the vast trafficking in electrons that is our business,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer at a celebratory event at the Hotel Utica, where he was joined by various state and local officials. “Over the past 25 years, Clark’s workforce of engineers, electricians, mechanics, linemen and other professionals have dedicated themselves to lower electricity costs for New York State’s ratepayers and bolstering reliability of electricity service. Today’s event recognizes their efforts.”

In addition to coordinating NYPA’s statewide operations, the ECC also provides information to the New York Independent System Operator, which oversees the statewide market for sale and purchase of electricity.

The Clark Energy Center includes the Marcy Substation, which handles more than three million kilowatts of electricity and is the location of the Power Authority’s transmission maintenance organization and training center for its linemen.

Five high-voltage NYPA transmission lines extend into and out of Marcy, making it a critical juncture for the statewide power grid.

“We’re proud to host this varied energy center, which, in essence, is the hub of the Power Authority’s statewide operations,” said Sen. Raymond Meier. “Clark is also a significant employer for our area, with a workforce of some 170 people.”

“State-of-the-art equipment recently installed at the Clark Energy Center enhances the vital role it plays for the state’s electric power system,” said Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito. “It underscores the priority the Power Authority has placed on the use of advanced technologies to strengthen power system reliability.”

“Today’s anniversary event reminds us of the critical role the Clark Energy Center plays in dispatching economical power and maintaining and repairing transmission lines,” said Assemblyman Dave Townsend. “This facility is integral to the state’s electric power infrastructure, and we take pride that it’s in Central New York.”

The Power Authority chose the Town of Marcy, northwest of Utica, for the energy center because of its central location in the state. Opened in 1980, it is located on Glass Factory Road and is named for Frederick R. Clark, who served as the Power Authority’s chairman from 1977 to 1979, and continued as a NYPA trustee through 1982.

In June 2004, the Power Authority celebrated completion of a pioneering transmission-control device at Clark, called the convertible static compensator (CSC), which is largely contained to a gymnasium-sized building. The device provides for increased power flow on heavily utilized transmission lines and for instantaneous shifting of power in the same substation from one transmission line to another.

The capability for instantaneous shifting of power—the first time this has been achieved anywhere in the world—allows for power to be transferred from a heavily utilized line to one with spare capacity, providing enhanced flexibility for dispatching of economical power.

NYPA invested $41 million in the CSC, with additional financial support from other electric utilities and industry organizations interested in the technology, which relies on high-speed, solid-state electronics rather than conventional electromechanical devices.

Our city’s proximity to the Clark Energy Center is a plus for its economy, considering the commerce that has resulted from its operation over the years,” said Utica Mayor Tim Julian, noting that a Utica firm, Stetson-Dale, served as the architect-engineer and construction manager of the building housing Clark’s operations.

NYPA has also contributed to the Utica area’s economy through allocations of lower cost power to businesses that are linked to more than 2,000 jobs. And it has achieved taxpayer savings through various energy efficiency projects for public facilities in the area, including the Oneida County Office Building, Court House and Sheriff’s Department, and Mohawk Valley Community College.

Among the Power Authority’s 17 generating plants is a small hydroelectric project at Hinckley Reservoir—the Gregory B. Jarvis Plant—about 10 miles northeast of Utica. The plant is capable of generating enough electricity for 9,000 homes.