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Oswego plans investment into hydroelectric facility

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media File Photo

The city of Oswego is planning to make a significant investment in its hydroelectric facility, known as the High Dam.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the city took control of the hydroelectric facility on W. First St. in the 1990s, and he said since then, investment at the plant has been minimal.

"There's just been some capital investments and some bigger maintenance items that have gone unchecked for far too long,” said Barlow. “We've paid the price for that with the plant not operating at 100 percent capacity in recent years."

Barlow said when the High Dam is operating at 100 percent capacity, the city can sell electricity back to the market and generate about $1 million per month.

So, now the city is planning a series of projects to modernize the plant and help it become fully operational again.

Barlow said the largest project will involve scour repair, which will help ensure water can flow through the dam and generate electricity. The second-largest piece will include electrical repairs and upgrades.

Barlow estimates the total price tag will be between $4 and $6 million, but he said after that investment, the High Dam will have tremendous potential.

"The city can continue to sell that electricity back to the grid, and get paid for that,” said Barlow. “The city could also take that energy and use it to actually power the city itself, and reduce our own electric bills, basically eliminate all of our electric bills."

Barlow said crews have already started the scour repair and basic maintenance at the plant. Construction is expected to continue until well into next year.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.