Potsdam's New Hydro Plant Could Be Online Soon

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It's been over a decade since the village of Potsdam first began planning it's second hydroelectric plant on the Racquette River.

After years of delays, lost and defective parts, and legal wrangling with the Canadian company hired to provide the components, village officials say they're just a couple of months from energizing the plant.

"Hopefully, in late spring, we should meet all the criteria we need to meet to be able to actually connect into the grid," said village administrator David Fenton.

The village first began construction on the plant in 2007.

All the necessary parts are now installed, but there are still a few hurdles to clear before the switch is flipped to begin generating electricity.

One of those hurdles is connecting the plant to the power grid.

"There's really two or three issues," Fenton said. "Grounding is one of them, where we've got to make sure the system is properly grounded, and the other is getting voltage and phase and making sure it matches up with the distribution system's voltage and making sure that's okay."

While the village's existing hydro plant isn't generating as much revenue as it has in the past due to a depressed market, the village hopes the new plant will produce more than four million kilowatts of electricity a year.

They hope the additional money will help lower tax rates.
 
Village officials say they might use the electricity generated by the plant for the village's own power and might also sell some to customers other than National Grid.

It's not just water over the dam. In this case, it's lost revenue for every gallon that flows by while the hydro plant remains idle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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