Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant

Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant

Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant is a hydroelectric power plant in Lewiston, NY near Niagara Falls, NY. The plant diverts water from Niagara River above Niagara Falls and returns the water into the lower portion of the river near Lake Ontario. It has a generating capacity of 2,515 megawatts (MW).

The Robert Moses plant was built to replace power production upon the collapse of the hydroelectric Schoellkopf Power Station on June 7, 1956 in Niagara Falls. It is named after Robert Moses, an mid-20th Century urban planner in New York.

This facility is not a typical dam, in that it was constructed not to control the flow of water in a natural river, but rather to contain a man-made reservoir which stores the water diverted through a tunnel from a point upstream on the Niagara River. The opposite boundary of this forebay is another dam. This dam is part of the 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant, which houses a set of electrically powered pumps that can move water to another higher storage reservoir behind this second dam.

At night, a substantial fraction of the water in the Niagara River is diverted to the lower reservoir, and electricity generated in the Moses plant is used to power the pumps to push water into the reservoir behind the Lewiston Dam. The water is pumped at night because the demand for electricity is much lower than during the day. In addition to the lower demand for electricity at night, less water can be diverted from the river during the day because of the desire to preserve the appearance of the falls. This prevents the plant from withdrawing such a large amount water during other times of low demand, such as weekends. During the following day, when electrical demand is high, water is released from the upper reservoir through generators in the Lewiston Dam. That same water flows into the main reservoir, where it falls again through the turbines of the Moses plant. Some would say that the water is 'used twice.' This arrangement is called pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

This system allows energy to be stored in vast quantities. At night, the potential energy in the diverted water is converted into electrical energy in the Moses plant. Some of that electrical energy is used to create potential energy when the water is pumped into the reservoir behind the Lewiston Dam. During the day, part of the potential energy of the water in the Lewiston reservoir is converted into electricity at the Lewiston Dam, and then its remaining potential energy is captured by the Moses Dam, which is also capturing the potential energy of the water diverted from the river in real-time.

Contamination of the site area

During the mid 1980's, the New York Power Authority began an expansion project at the site, known as FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Project 2216. Soon after, the project was halted due to discovery of hazardous chemicals such as dioxin, which had been dumped underground by chemical companies which had owned the land previously. A civil lawsuit was filed in the State of New York against the New York Power Authority, Occidental Petroleum, Hooker Chemicals, Bechtel Corporation, and Parsons Brinckerhoff, which was settled out of court in 1999. [Darrell R. Larocque v. New York Power Authority, et al., Supreme Court, State of New York.] Subsequent testing near the Lewiston Reservoir near the project still confirms mercury and organic contamination which restricts the consumption of fish. [cite web|title=Federal Regulatory Energy Commission Environmental Final Environmental Impact Statement of Niagara Project, 2006, page 74.||accessdate=2008-05-12]

ee also

* Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation
* Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant
* Pumped-storage hydroelectricity
* Reservoir State Park
* Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Power Stations


External links

* [ Environmental Protection Agency]

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