Using an engineer-procure-construct (EPC) delivery method, this 15-year project, called Next Generation Niagara, will begin with an overhaul of the plant’s main and backup control rooms. Because operations and maintenance staff will still need to work during this process, the design plans for dividing the control rooms in half and updating one side at a time. Our team also has purposefully selected materials that can be installed without causing excessive dust, disturbances or other strains to the senses. To provide a final result accommodating the needs of operators, our architectural design integrates top-of-the-line aesthetics and ergonomics, including color schemes, lighting levels, desk and chair selections, and acoustics.
The upfront engineering of this first phase will also incorporate upgrades to the switchyard, helping to address security compliance regulations regarding anti-terrorism and NERC-CIP. Once these areas are complete, the team will focus on updating the controls and protecting relaying for each unit. Again, to avoid reducing the plant’s power output and downtime, each unit will be addressed individually throughout the remainder of the program.
Work on the project’s first phase began in late 2019 and includes the first generating unit, the control rooms and several auxiliary systems. When the entire project is complete, the modernized hydropower plant will lead the market by leveraging digital technology to produce power more efficiently, reliably and with more information available.