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Potsdam hydro plant could be at full power next week

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By KATIE ANDERSON

POTSDAM — After years of delays and faulty parts, the West Dam Hydro Plant could be at full power by next week.

The plant, which was initially expected to be completed in 2009, has been producing about 200 kilowatts of power for the past few days.

Potsdam Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis said the first unit of the plant is up and running, and he’s hoping the second will be operational within a week.

“Unit one has been modified and reinstalled,” he said. “It’s been running well for the past few days, and we’re hoping the modification for unit two will be just as successful. I expect by the end of the week, if everything goes smoothly, that unit two will be online.”

The underwater bushings that guide the turbine shaft were manufactured incorrectly by the company Canadian Turbines.

The village is blaming the company for the years-long delay because they did not fulfill their contract or provide some of the parts they were supposed to. Potsdam pursued legal action but the company ceased to exist. The hydro plant had initally been expected to go on line in 2009. When completed, the plant will generate up to 900 kilowatts of power.

The bushings were sent to Northern Machining in Norfolk to be modified.

“We’re close to the end of the tunnel,” Mr. Yurgartis said. “This has been a long frustrating process, but all we can do is move forward and get this generating revenue for us. I think we’re getting close.”

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