REEL COH to install new gantry crane at NYPA’s Niagara project

2 August 2022

REEL COH Inc has won a contract valued at almost $38 million to fabricate, deliver and install a new gantry crane with a lifting capacity of 680 tons for the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project in Lewiston in Niagara County.

The NYPA Board of Trustees approved the contract following a competitive bidding process. The new crane will be a critical tool to help enable the power project’s 15-year modernization and digitization program titled Next Generation Niagara (NGN).

“The Niagara Power Project’s overhead gantry crane is the workhorse that makes possible all the of the plant’s mechanical upgrades, especially those related to our $1.1 billion multi-year Next Generation Niagara effort to modernize and extend the life of New York’s flagship clean energy plant,” said NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “Many of the efforts to digitize the project are already underway, but a new crane is essential for planned major mechanical upgrades. We are pleased to have REEL COH help us achieve our bold goal to modernize and digitize our foundational hydroelectric plant so we can continue to consistently provide clean energy to our customers and New Yorkers across the state.”

Launched in 2019, Next Generation Niagara will extend the operating life of the Niagara Power Project, the largest source of clean electricity in New York State and one of the country's largest hydroelectric projects. Next Generation Niagara is focusing primarily on the 13 power generating units that make up the project's Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant.

Standing 70ft high and 60ft wide, the project’s bright red overhead crane (dubbed “Big Red by plant staff) rolls along rail tracks at the project’s main generating facility, lifting rotors and other major components for maintenance and repairs. It is original to the plant and is nearing the end of its useful life. The new crane will play an integral role in NGN and will be rated to carry loads 50 tons greater than its predecessor.

The NGN program improvements include replacing aging equipment with the latest machinery that reflects advanced digital technologies for optimizing the hydroelectric project's performance. In addition to the crane replacement which enables the disassembly and reassembly of the generating units, Next Generation Niagara encompasses three other projects: 

  1. Design and implementation of an inspection platform to conduct comprehensive inspections of the Robert Moses Plant's penstocks – the 485ft conduits that are 26ft in diameter along the face of the project that carry water from the forebay to the turbine generators 
  2. Upgrading and digitizing control systems and building a new back-up control room and 
  3. Overhaul and/or replacement of mechanical components that have reached the end of their operating life, for which the new crane will play an integral role. 

The scope of work under this contract includes the design, fabrication, delivery, and installation of the new crane with a lift capacity of 680 tons, as well as a 15-ton monorail hoist, a 5-ton maintenance hoist, bird deterrent systems and closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. Construction of the new crane is expected be complete by 2026.

The first turbine outage to update the plant’s mechanical components is scheduled to begin in April 2023.


Image: Rendering of the new crane

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