Moriah Hydro seeks license on 240-MW pumped storage project in New York

Moriah Hydro Corp. applied Feb. 12 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a license for the 240-MW Mineville Energy Storage Project, to be located in Essex County, New York.

The Mineville Energy Storage Project is a proposed underground pumped energy storage hydroelectric project. It will use an existing decommissioned subterranean mine located in the Town of Moriah, New York. The existing mine comprises the interconnected Old Bed, Bonanza Open Pit, and Harmony Mines previously developed by Republic Steel Corp. and its predecessors.

The proposed Mineville Energy Storage Facility is composed of these existing subterranean voids and new access shafts, powerhouse cavern, and electrical tunnels. The project will use hydroelectric pump/turbines to elevate water from a lower storage elevation up to a higher elevation (storage mode). The hydroelectric pump/turbine will subsequently utilize this stored water to generate electricity (in the turbine or generator mode) by releasing the water from the upper storage elevation to the lower storage elevation.

Moriah Hydro said it believes that this facility will be extremely well positioned (in terms of both geographic location and the fact that the mines are adjacent to an existing 115-kV transmission line) to provide the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) grid with substantial benefits in a number of critical areas. This is especially true in that the current and future proliferation of renewable power generation projects present immediate challenges to the NYISO, the application noted.

The project will use 20 pump-turbine/generator power trains. Each power train will consist of five reversible pump-turbines connected in series and will act as a module. Each reversible pump/turbine will have three hydraulic stages and will be directly coupled to a synchronous motor/generator rated at 3,450 HP in the turbine mode, and 2,790 HP in the pump mode. Hence, each of the 20 parallel trains will have a generator capacity of 12,000 kW at a 0.80 power factor. The total installed capacity of the power chamber with all power trains operating in parallel will be 240,000 kW (240 MW) operating at 0.80 power factor.

“Plant operation will be fully automatic and follow supervisory control from the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) to meet energy demands and grid control requirements,” said the application. “The proposed project will likely generate during periods of high demand and recharge during periods of low demand, although it may likely be used to “time shift” renewable generation such as wind and solar generation. A pumped storage project is not susceptible to seasonal flow variations (and in this particular circumstance, all water will be retained in a subterranean system with minimal or no evaporative losses). Hence, operational constraints or variability resulting from or during adverse, mean, and high water years is not applicable. Assuming a maximum plant generation schedule of 10 hours per day, the plant would be capable of providing 737,600,000 kWh annually. The estimated average annual plant output is 421,000,000 kWh. The estimated annual managed capacity factor is 23 percent.

“The project will provide peaking power, capacity, storage, voltage regulation, spinning reserve, and other ancillary grid services and benefits. The plant will normally operate in the generation mode for several hours during peak loads and for shorter periods of rapid load change for load following and voltage regulation benefits. The estimated average annual energy production is 421,000,000 kWh. The dependable capacity of the project is 200,000 kW based on a weekly sustained peaking capacity defined by four hours per day, 20 hours per week, during times of peak demand. The project has been designed to operate in generating mode for 10 hours per day with an average production of 202,600 kW. However, the project could sustain generation for a period of 24 hours with an average production of 159,400 kW.”

Company contact information is: Moriah Hydro Corp. c/o Albany Engineering Corp., 5 Washington Square, Albany, NY 12205, Tel: (518) 456-7712, Fax: (518) 456-845.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.