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NYPA Press Release

NYPA Trash Rack Redesign Brings Efficiencies to Niagara Power Plant 

For Immediate Release: September 24, 2019

Contact: NYPA Media Relations | 914-681-6770 |

Racks Prevent Debris from Damaging Turbines

WHITE PLAINS – The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is installing 78 new trash racks at the Niagara Power Project’s main generating facility in Lewiston.  Trash racks are large grates between the river water in the project’s forebay and the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant that filter out debris. The newly designed trash racks will be easier to maneuver and will streamline plant operations.  (See images of NYPA’s Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant trash racks)

Each of the project’s 13 generating units has six (25’ x 10’) trash racks installed – two upper, two middle and two lower. They catch dislodged tree trunks, large pieces of metal and other river debris that might otherwise damage the facility’s turbines. Trash racks also capture leaves and other vegetation that are not a danger to turbines.  In summertime, when large amounts of waterborne vegetation flow down the Niagara River, vegetation can build up in the racks to a degree that restricts water flow and limits the plant’s power output.

To maintain smooth operations in summertime, NYPA removes the upper and middle racks, leaving the lower racks in place to catch the largest, most dangerous debris, which moves along the river bottom. In the past, removal and storage has taken a day and a half per unit for all 13 units, amounting to more than two weeks for the whole plant. When NYPA engineers and mechanical maintenance staff started preparing to replace Niagara’s aging trash racks back in 2014, a design review identified opportunities to simplify removal, cleaning and replacement. The NYPA team collaborated on a redesign that would slash the time needed for maintenance. With its new design, NYPA can remove the racks for three or four units in a single day.

“This in-house equipment redesign significantly reduces the time, manpower and money needed to conduct routine but critical maintenance,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “The work on this project is a testament to our employees’ commitment to asset management, and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s clean energy agenda by ensuring the safe, efficient operation of the Niagara Power Project -- one of New York’s cleanest power generators.”

Installation of the new trash racks began in 2018 and is expected to be completed next month.

About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit‑miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. 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. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, FacebookInstagramTumblr and LinkedIn.