New York Power Authority to relicense 1,160-MW pumped-storage hydro facility

Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on HydroWorld.com sister site GenerationHub.com. For more Federal Energy Regulatory Commission news and updates, visit the HydroWorld.com Premium Content section.

The New York Power Authority filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 10 a notice of a plan to seek a new license for the 1,160-MW Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project.

The current license for the project expires on April 30, 2019. Concurrently with the filing of the April 10 notice of intent to seek a new license, NYPA also filed a Pre-Application Document (PAD) for that relicensing.

In 2010, the Power Authority completed life extension and modernization efforts at the project (No. 2685). Each of the project’s four turbine-generators was rebuilt with most of their mechanical electrical components being replaced and repairs made to virtually all other parts. With completion of the modernization program, the four units have a generating capacity of 290 MW each. Other work involved with that refurbishment included replacement of main power transformers, circuit breakers, exciters and related equipment.

The project consists of an Upper Reservoir and Dike, a Lower Reservoir and Dam, conduits connecting the reservoirs and an underground powerhouse, spillways, and related facilities.

“The Blenheim-Gilboa project plays a valuable role in the security and reliability of New York State’s bulk electric power system—by providing electricity during periods of high demand—while also being linked to important recreational, tourism, economic and environmental benefits for the Schoharie Valley,” said Lynn Hait, regional manager for Central New York, NYPA. “A new license will allow the Power Authority—a public entity operated without taxpayer dollars—to continue providing important energy reliability and community benefits to local residents and the people of New York State.”

In 1969, NYPA received a 50-year license from the Federal Power Commission, the predecessor of FERC, to construct and operate this facility along the Schoharie Creek, a tributary of the Mohawk River in the northern Catskills. It began supplying electricity to the state’s power grid in 1973.

NYPA expects to submit its application for a new license to FERC in April 2017. Licensing involves studies and public participation on a schedule set by FERC. The process follows an outline—a scoping document—that describes required topics for informed discussion, with formal studies undertaken if FERC requires them, to evaluate a project’s request for a new license. It is expected that FERC will hold many public meetings throughout the multi-year relicensing process, beginning as early as summer 2014, at dates and locations to be determined.

The project contact listed in the April 10 filing is: Mark Slade, Licensing Director, 123 Main Street, White Plains, NY 10601, Telephone: (914) 681-6659, Email: Mark.Slade@nypa.gov.

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