Spanning the U.S.-Canadian border at Massena, N.Y., is an international hydroelectric facility that produces some of the cleanest, lowest cost electricity in North America. The U.S. portion of the facility is the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project. On the Canadian side is the Robert H. Saunders Generating Station.
The heart of this project, which generated first power in 1958, is the Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam, built cooperatively by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Ontario Hydro (now known as Ontario Power Generation). The dam's 32 turbine-generators are divided equally by the international border and are operated independently by the two utilities. The Power Authority's 16 generating units can produce 800,000 kilowatts of electricity, more than enough to light a city the size of Washington, D.C. Forty years after St. Lawrence-FDR produced its first power, NYPA began an ambitious 15-year Life Extension and Modernization (LEM) Program. Most of the original equipment in the powerhouse of the Robert Moses Power Dam was replaced or renovated under the $281 million LEM, which will assure the project’s continued efficient and reliable operation for decades to come.
The St. Lawrence-FDR project is much more than its power dam. The entire project stretches over the St. Lawrence River Valley for more than 30 miles. It includes two control structures—the Iroquois and Long Sault dams—upstream, along with almost 11 miles of dikes that help form Lake St. Lawrence. And we've built thousands of acres of public parkland along the river for recreational enjoyment and wildlife preservation. We also have a visitors center located at Hawkins Point, which has an outstanding view of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam.
The economic benefits of St. Lawrence-FDR are far-reaching. Its low-cost power, under a statutorily authorized program known as Preservation Power, is essential to protecting hundreds of aluminum production jobs at Alcoa’s Massena operations. Other Northern New York allottees of the project's power are Upstate Niagara Cooperative, in North Lawrence; Florelle Tissue Corp., in Brownville; Corning, in Canton, and St. Lawrence Zinc Co., in Gouverneur.
In December 2014, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that allows proceeds from the sale of a block of up to 20 megawatts of hydropower to be used for economic development in St. Lawrence County.
The photo at the top of this page is the Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam.
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