Robert moses niagara power plant – wikipedia physics c electricity and magnetism study guide


The land that the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant occupies has a long history of use. In 1805, Augustus and Peter Porter of Buffalo, New York, purchased the American Falls from New York in a public auction, and later acquired the rights to the eastern rapids above the falls as well, but died before they could bring their vision of a canal and power plant to reality. Several other companies later attempted similar projects without success. [1]

In 1853, the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company was chartered; in 1861, it completed a 35-foot (11 m) wide and 8-foot (2.4 m) deep canal. The powerhouse finally opened in 1874, but produced little electricity even by the standards of the day. [1]

In 1877, Jacob F. Schoellkopf purchased the canal, along with the water and power rights, for $71,000. He improved the canal and put the powerhouse to commercial use. In 1881, his company completed Schoellkopf Power Station No. 1; it would operate until 1904. In 1891, Schoellkopf Power Station No. 2 opened directly in front of the original, in the gorge below the falls, with a higher 210-foot (64 m) drop. In 1904, the company built Schoellkopf Stations No. 3A and 3B. [2]

In 1918, World War I led the power companies to merge into the Niagara Falls Power Company. From 1921 to 1924, the company built Schoellkopf Station No. 3C next to the previous ones. It contained three 25 Hz generators with a total capacity of 160 megawatts (210,000 hp), [2] bringing the Schoellkopf Power Stations to 19 generators with a capacity of 340 megawatts (450,000 hp).

The pump-generating plant in the Lewiston Dam is atypical, in that the dam was constructed not to control the flow of water in a natural river, but rather to contain a man-made 1,900-acre (770 ha), 22-billion-US-gallon (83,000,000 m 3) upper reservoir (named the Lewiston Reservoir) which stores the water before being released into the forebay of the Robert Moses Power Station. Water enters the forebay via tunnels from the Niagara River controlled via the International Control Dam upstream of the natural falls. Water in the forebay is then either pumped up into the upper reservoir or immediately sent down over the escarpment downstream of the natural falls into the Robert Moses Power Station turbines. The Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant 43°08′33″N 79°01′18″W  /  43.14250°N 79.02167°W  / 43.14250; -79.02167  ( Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant) houses 12 electrically powered pump-generators that can generate a combined 240 megawatts (320,000 hp) when water in the upper reservoir is released.

At night, a substantial fraction (600,000 US gallons (2,300 m 3) per second) of the water in the Niagara River is diverted to the forebay by two 397-foot (121 m) tunnels. [6] Electricity generated in the Moses plant is used to power the pumps to push water into the upper 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. During the following day, when electrical demand is high, water is released from the upper reservoir through the pump-generators in the Lewiston Dam. The water then flows into the forebay, where it falls through the turbines of the Moses plant. Some would say that the water is "used twice". This arrangement is a variant of what is called pumped-storage hydroelectricity. Engineers copied what had been built by Ontario Hydro, across the river, when a similar system was built during construction of the Sir Adam Beck generating station II in the 1950s.

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.

Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2020, the pump-generating plant will be undergoing a $460 million modernization that will increase the plant’s efficiency and service life. The Robert Moses Plant was refurbished in 2006. [7] Contamination of the site area [ edit ]

During the mid-1980s, 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 dioxins, 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. [8] Subsequent testing near the Lewiston Reservoir near the project still confirms mercury and organic contamination which restricts the consumption of fish. [9] Niagara Power Visitors Center [ edit ]

The Niagara Power Visitors Center is located four miles downstream of Niagara Falls, with an observation deck along Niagara Gorge. The Center features interactive exhibits about hydroelectricity and its history in the Niagara Frontier. See also [ edit ]