NYPA to Invest $1.1B in Niagara Plant Upgrade

Highlights include replacing aging equipment with advanced technologies to optimize performance.

The New York Power Authority has announced plans to modernize and digitize New York’s largest clean energy producer, the Niagara Power Project. Dubbed Next Generation Niagara, the 15-year program will center on the Robert Moses Niagara Power plant, a 2,525-megawatt hydro facility built in 1961 and the project’s main generating facility.

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NYPA will invest $1.1 billion in the program, making it one of the most ambitious recent infrastructure endeavors in the state and the largest capital project in its history. Next Generation Niagara will significantly extend the operating life of the facility and will also support Governor Cuomo’s clean energy goals for transitioning the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. Work is set to begin later this year.

Reliability & resiliency 

The improvements will include replacing aging equipment with the latest machinery reflecting advanced digital technologies for optimizing the hydroelectric project’s performance. The revamp project will secure the plant’s long-term future as a clean power generator that spurs economic development across the state through its low-cost allocation programs, including Governor Cuomo’s ReChargeNY program. Through these programs, the Niagara Project directly supports more than 200,000 jobs and $17 billion in capital investments.

The initiative will consist of four major phases that will ensure continued safe, reliable operation going forward. Specifically, the four phases will include:

  • A comprehensive inspection of the Robert Moses plant’s penstocks
  • Refurbishing the 630-ton crane that enables mechanical work at the plant
  • Upgrading and digitizing the control systems
  • Building a new back-up control room and replacing mechanical parts that have reached the end of their operating life.

NYPA also owns and operates approximately one-third of New York’s high-voltage power lines. These lines transmit power from NYPA’s three large hydroelectric generation facilities, including its flagship Niagara plant, and from wind power generation facilities, connecting nearly 7,000 megawatts of renewable power to New York State’s power grid. The apportionment includes more than 6,200 megawatts of hydropower and approximately 700 megawatts of New York State-generated wind energy to the grid.

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