One of the project’s four pump-generating units resumed production of electricity on 13 November and two others are expected to online by 20 November. The fourth unit is scheduled to be available by June 2007 to help meet power needs in the peak summer period.

The shutdown of the entire project, which began on 23 September, was necessary because operators reduced the water levels in the facility’s upper reservoir to permit replacement of a spherical valve that controls the flow of water into the power house. The project’s three other spherical valves will be refurbished in succeeding years, also requiring temporary shutdowns.

‘Our workers at Blenheim-Gilboa have completed an extraordinary undertaking in which the project was shut down and returned to service in line with an extremely demanding schedule and water management plan,’ said Allen Schriver, NYPA’s regional manager for Central New York. ‘This bodes well for the success of our overall Life Extension and Modernisation [LEM] programme.’

The four-year, US$135M LEM programme is intended to ensure that the Blenheim-Gilboa project operates at maximum efficiency for many years to come.

Work will include replacement of many of the major mechanical and electrical components, and maintenance and repairs to virtually all other parts. The work on the first unit is scheduled for completion by next June, with the process to be repeated for the others beginning in the fall of 2007, 2008 and 2009. The entire program is to be completed in May 2010.

The Blenheim-Gilboa project, which began operation in 1973, is located in the Catskill Mountains in New York state, US.