NYPA plans for modernization, life extension at hydro plant

The New York Power Authority on May 16 said it is in the planning stages of a life extension and modernization (LEM) and controls upgrade program at its Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant.

The program will replace aging assets, install digitally integrated sensors and monitors, and provide system hardening and cybersecurity improvements at the hydro plant.

NYPA said that starting in the fall of 2020, the Niagara LEM program will implement unit control upgrades that will provide precise, real‑time data to operators as part of a smart generation and transmission strategic initiative, as well as further NYPA’s progress in its drive to become the nation’s first end‑to‑end digital utility.

New backup controls will also be incorporated to mitigate the risk of losing main control room functionality, improving both plant and system reliability.

Asset replacement and rehabilitation work for the life extension portion of the program will begin in the field in 2023 and is expected to be completed within an approximate 10‑year time frame.

To ensure stable operations are maintained throughout the program, the priority for asset replacement will be based on risk, as determined by the program team, NYPA noted.

The Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant has both the fifth‑largest installed capacity and the second‑greatest annual power production in the U.S.

The program is also a key component of NYPA’s Strategic Vision 2020.