LITTLE FALLS — Mario Roefaro, community and governmental relations representative for the New York Power Authority, recently spoke to the Little Falls Rotary Club.
Roefaro has been with NYPA for three years and is a graduate of Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in Legal philosophy politics, and law. Roefaro spoke about the Catskill Mountains being the location of a special type of hydroelectric facility that serves as a giant energy-storage device — the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project.
Nestled beneath 2,000-foot-tall Brown Mountain, he said the project generates more than one million kilowatts of electricity in peak demand periods by drawing water from Schoharie Creek and recycling it between two huge reservoirs. Blenheim-Gilboa serves two vital functions, he said. It saves money for New York consumers by providing low-cost electricity when they need it most, and it stores water for emergency power production.
If necessary, Roefaro said the project can be up and running within two minutes. It can “pinch hit” if another plant or line suddenly goes out of service, he said. The unspoiled beauty surrounding Blenheim-Gilboa is a pleasure for the many visitors — local residents and out-of-town tourists — who flock to the area for educational and recreational pursuits, said Roefaro. Besides producing power, the facility operates a visitors’ center and helps in maintaining adjacent attractions that generate good times as well, he said.