Early Electrification of Buffalo: Niagara to Buffalo Transmission Lines
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Latest revision as of 14:10, 13 November 2013
This article is Part 6 of a 14 part series.
In the late 19th century about 400 steam boilers rated 33,500 hp were installed in Buffalo. With coal at about $2 per ton, the price for electric power to be competitive could be estimated.i
On January 14, 1896, after much difficulty, the City of Buffalo granted an electricity distribution franchise to the Niagara Falls Power Company; municipal ownership had been rejected.
Proposals for equipment to transmit 10,000 electrical horsepower from Niagara Falls to Buffalo were received from Westinghouse and General Electric. General Electric was awarded the contract for the design and construction of the transformer station in Niagara Falls, the transmission line to Buffalo and the transformer station in Buffalo, including the rotary converters to provide direct current for trolley service.
Two single-phase air-cooled or ‘air blast’ 930-kW transformers were installed at Niagara [Fig. 6.3}.
The 22-mile transmission line consisted of cedar wood poles with 12 foot pine crossarms supporting three 350,000-cmil, 19 strand, bare copper conductors [Fig. 6.5].
At the Buffalo end, the last 4000 feet was underground cable to the generating station of the Buffalo Railway Company on Niagara Street at Prospect Avenue [Fig. 6.8] where three 250-kW 11,000-V to 375-V transformers connected in delta supplied two rotary converters for street railway purposes. The rotary converters operated in parallel with the trolley company's steam engine driven 550-volt dc generators.viii Service was inaugurated November 15, 1896. Overall efficiency was 79.6%.ix
In 1896, protecting devices for transmission lines were conspicuous by their complete absence. The oil switch had not yet been conceived and there was no method known which could interrupt a short circuit on a line with the capacity at Niagara without shutting down the entire system.
Figure 6.10 shows the Niagara Falls Power Co. distribution system in 1897. The local Niagara Falls load was supplied 2200 V by two-phase four-wire or single phase two-wire and consisted of a mixture of ac and dc applications plus motors and lighting. The Buffalo electric trolley load was less than 2,000 hp.xiii
Niagara Falls customers
i. Adams, Niagara Power, 1:340.
ii. Ibid., 1:339-340. Niagara Mohawk Story, 79.
iii. Adams, Niagara Power, 1:337.
iv. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:248.
v. Ibid., 289. Stillwell, “Electric Transmission,” 497.
vi. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:287.
vii. Ibid., 274-275.
viii. Ibid., 275. Stillwell, “Electric Transmission,” 497.
ix. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:276.
x. Ibid., 283-285. Stillwell, “Electric Transmission,” 497.
xi. Related to the author by Alex Graham, an NMP employee, ca. 1954.
xii. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:278.
xiii. Ibid., 251. Stillwell, “Electric Transmission,” 497.
xiv. Adams, Niagara Power, 2:284.
xv. Ibid., 284.
- Page created by Cawoody, 8 September 2008
- Contributors: Cawoody x15, Azalma x4, Nmolnar x1, Nbrewer x2, Administrator1 x6, Kwiggins x1
- Last modified by Administrator1, 13 November 2013