NYPA News Release

New York Power Authority Announces Historic Agreements Valued at $70 Million to Benefit Schoharie County Communities

Agreements Benefitting the Towns of Blenheim and Gilboa and Investing in Recreational and Environmental Enhancements Tied to Expected Federal Relicensing of NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project


For Immediate Release:  3/14/2018

Contact: Media Inquiries | 914-681-6770

GILBOA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced historic agreements with communities and state and federal partner agencies that will provide more than $70 million in benefits to the area over the next 50 years. These agreements were reached in support of the continued operation of NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project (B-G). The agreements consist of $50 million to be shared between the Towns of Blenheim and Gilboa and $20 million set forth in agreements with federal and state agencies for environmental and recreational enhancements in Schoharie County to benefit residents and visitors for the next half a century.

“These agreements mark a significant milestone in the negotiation of a new 50-year federal license for the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project—a plant that is integral to the sustainability of our statewide electric power system,” said Gil. C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO. “As a result of these agreements, the New York Power Authority has pledged $70 million in investments dedicated to enhancing neighboring communities and state parks, fishing areas, and other outdoor recreation for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.”

The commitments are part of NYPA’s relicensing application which is submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the B-G plant’s continued operation through 2069. The agreements are contingent on FERC’s issuance of that operating license. A decision on the relicensing is expected by May 2019. B-G is a clean energy, pumped-storage hydroelectric facility which supports the Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy for building a cleaner, more resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. B-G’s power output helps the state meet its daily electricity needs, especially during periods of peak demand.   

“It is the collaboration with the surrounding communities that helps make our power project in Schoharie County so successful,” said Brian Saez, NYPA Regional Manager for Central New York and Schoharie County resident. “The Blenheim-Gilboa facility is a hydroelectric clean energy storage project that provides low-cost renewable power to the grid. We, at NYPA, thank the leadership of the Towns of Blenheim and Gilboa and our partner agencies for their continued cooperation and we look forward to another 50 years of clean energy generating from Schoharie County.”

The agreement with the Towns of Blenheim and Gilboa calls for annual payments of $500,000 to be shared equally by the towns each year of the 50-year term of the proposed new license. The agreement also contains an annual revenue-sharing provision that is worth a minimum of $25 million over the life of the new license. If the plant operates for an extended period without realizing a profit, mandatory payments will compensate the towns.

Blenheim Town Supervisor Donald M. Airey said, “This agreement represents a fiscal game-changer for the Town of Blenheim and its residents--perhaps more so for the next generation than for the present. The resources provided by NYPA to the local host communities will be used to support infrastructure, enhance administrative capacity, support public safety, improve local roads, eliminate town debt, and assist in local tax relief and other initiatives. Blenheim looks forward to a strong partnership with the NYPA for the 50 year term of the new operating license and beyond.”


Gilboa Town Supervisor Anthony T. Van Glad said, Our town prepared for the relicensing of the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project for nearly eight years, and after a year of intense negotiation we have reached an agreement that supports the Power Authority’s operation of the power project for the next 50 years and will provide significant financial support to the Town of Gilboa. The Town Board wishes to thank all parties involved for their efforts to bring this agreement to fruition.”

In a separate relicensing settlement agreement with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, NYPA has committed to the following recreational and environmental enhancements within B-G’s 2,900-acre project boundary over the 50-year term of the license:

  • Support for capital improvements at Mine Kill State Park in the amount of $4 million;
  • Continued protection and support of Lansing Manor, a historic home listed in the National Register of Historic Places that is located on the B-G Visitors Center grounds;
  • $1.5 million for two new habitat improvement projects in B-G’s upper reservoir for fishery resources, including new fish attraction structures;
  • $2 million toward ecological enhancement measures in the Schoharie Creek watershed;
  • Guidelines for continued management of B-G project lands within the FERC-approved project boundary and;
  • Revised operating procedures for Schoharie Creek outflows, along with a commitment to support the U.S. Geological Service in its operation and maintenance of Schoharie Creek monitoring gages, including the installation, operation, and maintenance of seven new downstream gages, for an annual cost of approximately $250,000. 

David Stilwell, field supervisor, U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service, New York Field Office, said: "The settlement agreement is an excellent example of federal and state cooperation to ensure that a valuable energy resource continues to operate for the next 50 years while maintaining a healthy ecosystem and robust fish populations and improving recreational opportunities.”

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Schoharie Valley region holds a rich history and includes some of New York’s most valuable natural fishery habitats and watersheds. The substantial investment announced today for the improvements at Mine Kill State Park builds upon Governor Cuomo's efforts to connect New Yorkers and visitors to the state’s remarkable natural resources, while protecting their natural habitats and environmental value.”

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Mine Kill State Park is a vital community resource in the Schoharie Valley. I’m grateful this settlement agreement continues the great work by Governor Cuomo and the New York Power Authority to support and improve this beloved park.”

About the Relicensing of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project
The B-G Project provides significant benefits to the local region. The B-G Project contributes approximately $18 million annually in direct expenditures to the local economies. Employment at the B-G Project is 150 people with 57 percent of the total payroll paid to employees who live in Schoharie County providing more than $6.8 million to the Schoharie County economy.


About the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project

B-G’s principal features include the power plant, the upper and lower reservoirs, and all surrounding grounds and facilities within the project boundary, much of which support regional tourism and recreation. Within the towns of Blenheim and Gilboa, the B-G project sits just below Brown Mountain. Water released from the upper reservoir, atop Brown Mountain, plunges 1,042 feet within the mountain to power the four turbine-generators, then flows into a lower reservoir on Schoharie Creek. At night and on weekends, when demand is lower, water is pumped back to the upper reservoir, using economical electricity from other sources.

NYPA has developed and restored several public educational and recreational facilities around the plant, including Lansing Manor, a historic early 19th century home; its Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center; and Mine Kill State Park, located adjacent to the Visitors Center, that is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

NYPA operates Lansing Manor as a museum, and in Lansing Manor’s former barn a Visitors Center is open to the public year-round offering free educational programming and events for local residents, tourists and school groups. Since opening in 1974, it has welcomed more than 2 million visitors. The land surrounding the Visitors Center provides numerous recreational opportunities including hiking; cross-country skiing; and boating and fishing in the reservoirs that NYPA stocks with game fish.

In May 1969, NYPA received a 50-year license from the Federal Power Commission, the predecessor of FERC, to construct and operate B-G along the Schoharie Creek, a tributary of the Mohawk River in the northern Catskills. The power plant, located on the B-G project grounds, began supplying electricity to the state’s power grid in 1973. Its current license is set to expire on April 30, 2019.

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 www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.

Reforming the Energy Vision:
Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and requiring 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven growth of more than 1,000 percent in the statewide solar market, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit rev.ny.gov, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.