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New York Power Authority's Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project Resumes Power Production

Steve Ramsey

November 10, 2008


GILBOA—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Kessel today announced that the NYPA Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project was returned to service on November 7, following the completion of preliminary work for upgrading one of the project’s four pump-turbine generating units.

The upgrade is part of a four-year $135 million Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) Program for replacement of major mechanical and electrical components of the generating units and maintenance and repairs of virtually all other parts.

“The Blenheim-Gilboa project has been an important part of the New York Power Authority’s power generation since 1973,” said Kessel. “The Life Extension and Modernization program will maximize the efficiency of this key hydroelectric facility, while helping to ensure that it operates at maximum efficiency for years to come.”  

Three of the four pump-turbine generating units resumed power production after the Power Authority refilled the project’s upper reservoir. The reservoir had been drained to permit replacement of a spherical valve that controls the flow of water into the powerhouse. The project has been shut down since September 15. The pump-turbine unit currently being upgraded is scheduled to be returned to service by June, 2009, in time for the peak summer demand season, when the Blenheim-Gilboa project’s full generating output is most crucial.

This is the third pump-generator to undergo refurbishing. Last year, the Power Authority completed work on the second unit under a similar work schedule. The work on the last remaining pump-turbine generator will be undertaken in the same manner next year, with the LEM program scheduled to be completed in June 2010.

The Blenheim-Gilboa project moves water between its lower and upper reservoirs, for a pumping-generating cycle that provides economical power during times of peak demand. At night and on weekends, when demand is lower, water is pumped to the upper reservoir, atop Brown Mountain, using the least cost electricity available from other sources. During periods of greatest consumer demand, water is released from the upper reservoir, plunging 1,200 feet to power the dual-function, pump turbine-generators and then flows into a lower reservoir on Schoharie Creek.

About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■   For more information, please go to

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