The operating life of the Niagara Power Project in New York, US, is set to significantly extended as the New York Power Authority (NYPA) launches a 15-year modernization and digitization program at the project.

The life extension and modernization program, called "Next Generation Niagara," centers on the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the Niagara project's main generating facility. NYPA plans to invest $1.1 billion in the project, making it one of the most ambitious recent infrastructure endeavors in the state.

Next Generation Niagara is expected to help realize Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's aggressive clean energy goals for transitioning the state to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 and serve as a grounding force for the forward-looking provisions in the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which Governor Cuomo recently signed into law.

"The Niagara Power Project is New York's largest source of clean electricity and this modernization project will allow it to continue operating for another 50 years," Governor Cuomo said. "This extraordinary investment is a crucial part of our nation-leading plan to decarbonize New York's electric power system by 2040 and will continue supplying job-producing companies across the state with clean, low-cost energy."

"This significant investment, one of the largest capital projects in state history, will continue operations of the historic Niagara Power Project," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This project will support hundreds of thousands of jobs, and advance our aggressive clean energy goals. The modernization of our state's largest power plant continues our efforts to combat climate change and ensure a cleaner and greener environment now and for the future."

The improvements will include replacing aging equipment with the latest machinery reflecting advanced digital technologies for optimizing the hydroelectric project's performance. The project will secure the plant's long-term future as a clean power generator that spurs economic development in Western New York and across the state through its low-cost power allocation programs, including Governor Cuomo's ReChargeNY program. The Niagara Project, through these programs, directly supports more than 200,000 jobs and $17 billion in capital investments. Next Generation Niagara also will support an estimated 60 union construction jobs over the course of the project.

NYPA's Board of Trustees approved the major capital investment in the Niagara project, which began operating in 1961, at its July 30 meeting. The $1.1 billion investment makes Next Generation Niagara the largest capital project in NYPA's history.

The initiative will encompass four major phases which 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; and building a new back-up control room and replacing mechanical parts that have reached the end of their operating life. Work is set to begin later this year.