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Power line work at Alcoa site to start in June

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, Massena, Bob Lenney, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYPA, hydroelectric, power transmission, potline smelters

CHICAGO — Work to upgrade Alcoa Inc.’s operations in Massena, N.Y., is expected to begin in June, with transmission lines being moved to accommodate a new electrical substation expected to power a new potline.

The New York Power Authority’s board of trustees approved more than $3.7 million to relocate its transmission lines, the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This transmission line relocation is critical to Alcoa’s much-anticipated modernization of the Massena East smelter."

Work on moving the power lines is expected to begin in early June and be completed in November, the governor’s office said.

Moving the transmission lines is "essential" for the next phase of upgrades at Massena East, plant manager Bob Lenney said in a statement.

The lines must be moved so that a new substation can be installed to feed electricity to the new potline. The new 115-kilovolt substation will replace a facility that is more than 50 years old, according to the governor’s office.

The Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer in late March announced plans to spend $52 million through 2015 as it looks to modernize its operations at Massena (, April 1).

The $52 million is part of Alcoa’s plans to invest $600 million at the Massena East and West smelters and keep at least 900 jobs at the complex in return for 478 megawatts of hydropower from the New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric plant, Cuomo’s office said. The power load accounts for approximately 60 percent of the power plant’s output.

The authority has agreed to supply power to Alcoa’s Massena operations for another 30 years after the current contract expires this year, with an option to extend the deal by another 10 years.

Alcoa’s two Massena smelters have a combined nameplate capacity of 252,000 tonnes per year, according to the company’s website.

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