The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved the award of a competitively-bid contract, valued up to $275 million to Voith Hydro Inc., located in York, Pennsylvania, for mechanical and electrical upgrades related to the Power Authority’s 15-year modernization and digitization program titled Next Generation Niagara (NGN). Next Generation Niagara will extend the operating life of NYPA’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, the largest source of clean electricity in New York state and one of the country's largest hydroelectric projects. Next Generation Niagara focuses primarily on the 13 power generating units in the project's Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant.
“The Next Generation Niagara mechanical upgrades represent a foundational part of our multi-year effort to modernize our flagship plant,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “The digitization and upgrade work will progress turbine by turbine and include replacement of mechanical equipment, some of which dates back to the plant’s construction, and will also involve the addition of sensors and new technology to help the project meet NYPA’s bold digitization goals.”
Launched in July 2019, the NGN Program improvements will include replacing aging equipment with the latest machinery that reflects advanced digital technologies for optimizing the hydroelectric project's performance. The initiative encompasses four major phases: 1) Design and implementation of an inspection platform to conduct comprehensive inspections of the Robert Moses Plant's penstocks—the 485 foot conduits that are 26 feet in diameter along the face of the project that carry water from the forebay to the turbine generators; 2) Replacement of the 630-ton gantry crane that enables disassembly and reassembly of the generating units; 3) Upgrading and digitizing control systems and building a new back-up control room, and 4) Overhaul and/or replacement of mechanical components that have reached the end of their operating life.
The scope of work under this contract, which was awarded in late May, includes the design, delivery and installation of major mechanical components, including headcovers and servomotors as well as the refurbishment of operating mechanisms including the generator rotors, runners and other turbine components.
It was determined that Voith was the best value bidder based on its competitive pricing, experience and ongoing support for the Niagara Power Project, in addition to its submission of a well-thought-out project execution plan. A majority of Voith's manufacturing will be fully U.S.-based for the project, reducing the risk of supply-chain delays.
“Being selected to perform strategic work at one of America’s most iconic hydro plants – one of such critical importance to our nation’s electricity grid – makes our entire organization proud,” said Stanley Kocon, president and CEO, Voith Hydro North America. “By allowing Voith to construct and refurbish this equipment with American steel in our York, PA factory, NYPA again is leading the way with critical infrastructure investment and domestic job creation.”
The first turbine outage to update the plant’s mechanical components is scheduled to begin in April 2023. An outage to allow for the digital overhaul of the first unit began late last year and is scheduled to conclude this summer.