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NYPA Reaches Milestone In Modernization, Digitization Of Niagara Power Plant

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has completed a $460 million modernization and life extension project of its Lewiston Pump Generating Plant and the digitization of the first of 13 hydropower turbines at the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant.

The Lewiston and Robert Moses pump generating plants together comprise the 2,675-megatwatt (MW) Niagara Power Project, the largest generating station in New York State.

The digitization is the first major milestone of Next Generation Niagara, a $1.1 billion, 15-year program to extend the operating life of the Niagara Power Project.

The modernization and life extension of the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant began in 2012 and included the replacement of the facility's 12 pump turbines and its generator step-up transformers, which date back to 1961 when the Niagara plant first entered service.

The work involved the replacement of one pump turbine every eight to nine months, ensuring that 11 of the 12 turbines were available for operation during the upgrade so that NYPA could meet commitments to its power customers.

The Lewiston pump provides energy when power demand peaks and supplements the output of the Robert Moses plant, which is the main generating facility at the Niagara Power Project.

The Next Generation Niagara program aims to extend the operating life of the Robert Moses plant. The recently completed installation of new digital controls on the first turbine generator unit included making corresponding digital connections to the facility's control room as part of the plant’s overall control room upgrade and redesign, and to the plant’s switchyard where Niagara’s power is distributed across New York’s transmission system. In the switchyard, workers installed digital controls on the transformers and circuit breakers corresponding to the upgraded turbine.

In addition to digitizing the plant's generating units and building a new back-up control room, the Next Generation Niagara initiative encompasses a comprehensive inspection of the Robert Moses plant's penstocks, the 485-foot pipes that carry water from the forebay to the turbine generators; replacement of the 630-ton crane that enables mechanical work on the turbines; and the overhaul and/or replacement of mechanical components that have reached the end of their operating life.

A planned unit outage to digitize the next turbine generator unit is expected to begin in May 2022.

The digitization and modernization projects represent nearly $1.6 billion of clean energy infrastructure investments at the Niagara plant intended to advance New York State's goal to transition to 100 percent carbon dioxide free electricity by 2040.