The New York Power Authority announced it has installed two emergency diesel generators that will enable its small clean power plants in the Bronx to start up if there was a blackout or other loss of power affecting the electric grid.
The capability is referred to as “black-start,” allowing a power plant to go from a shutdown mode to generating power without assistance from the power grid.
The emergency generators support two natural gas-fueled plants at Hell Gate and Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx. The initiative stemmed from a request from Con Edison seeking to bolster the resiliency of the power system in New York City.
“Modifying these plants to provide black-start capability was primarily an issue of safety and common sense,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “In the event of a large-scale blackout, these emergency generators can provide enough power to kick start the power grid by helping to energize other New York City power plants.”
The emergency generators—one at each plant--are designed to activate automatically, if power is suddenly lost at Hell Gate or Harlem River Yards. Their activation would provide power to start the 79.9-megawatt plants, putting them into idle mode, pending direction from the New York Independent System Operator--which oversees New York’s bulk electric power system, on whether to generate and send power to the grid.
In addition to the generators, manufactured by Caterpillar, the work also included the installation of small electrical sheds equipped with controls and switchgear at each site.
The NYPA trustees awarded a competitively bid contract in 2014 to Dynamic Mechanical Contractors, Inc., to install the equipment. NYPA planned, coordinated and managed the installation and will be repaid for its upfront costs by Con Edison.