“How cool would that be to walk a wire across Niagara Falls!” Those were the thoughts of a young Nik Wallenda the first time he visited the Falls with his family while his parents were performing in Buffalo. Nik admits that might sound strange to most people, but being part of the seventh generation of Wallendas who continue in the family tradition, “It’s sort of in the blood,” he says.
Fast forward about 25 years. To make his longtime dream a reality, serious lobbying of US and Canadian officials began twenty months before the walk actually took place. The New York State Assembly passed a bill that granted a onetime anti-stunting law exemption early on in the process, however Ontario Canada’s Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) didn’t grant their approval until four months before the event.
On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to perform a tightrope skywalk over Niagara Falls since 1896. His successful crossing was performed in front of nearly 200,000 spectators and millions of television viewers across the world. “All my attention is focused right there on that wire and nothing else,” Nik stated. “It’s me and that wire in our own world.”
A key factor in Wallenda’s success rested on finding the right contractor to install the cable: experts who possessed the resources and equipment to rig and stabilize an 1800-foot span of wire rope without the use of guy-wires. He found what he was looking for in NECA Contractor O’Connell Electric and the IBEW Local 1249 tradesmen who work for them.
Cohocton Wind is a 125MW wind farm sited across the hilltops of a designated agricultural district in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The $150 million project involved installation of 50 Clipper Liberty 2.5MW Wind Turbines, two substations, transmission lines, and access roads. Cohocton Wind is owned and operated by Canandaigua Power Partners, an LLC created by developer First Wind. The site provides enough energy to supply 50,000 homes in the Northeastern US.
Energy East (formerly Rochester Gas & Electric) provides electricity to over 350,000 customers in a region centered around the City of Rochester in Upstate New York. With industry deregulation, Energy East shifted its focus from power generation to power distribution. In decommissioning a major generating station in Rochester, the company needed to update and improve transmission/distribution facilities as it brought outside power into the area.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation is a utility serving approximately 300,000 electric and about 74,000 natural gas customers in an eight county area of New York State’s Mid-Hudson River Valley, including the suburbs of metropolitan New York City north to the capital district at Albany.
Casella Waste Systems owns and operates a methane gas-to-energy plant at their landfill operations in Angelica, New York—the company’s fourth LFGTE project. Energy East contracted with Casella to tap into this renewable energy power generating source. At full capacity the site is expected to produce 4.8 megawatts per hour of clean energy.
Developer Noble Environmental Power, sells the electric power generated at the Wethersfield Wind Farm into the New York power market as well as renewable energy credits to green energy marketers. The wind park has 84 General Electric 1.5MW wind turbines capable of producing 126MW of power. The wind farm’s substation steps-up the 34,500 voltage to 230KV for transmission while the switchyard connects the wind farm’s power to New York State Gas & Electric’s 230KV utility grid via a ring bus configuration.
South of Buffalo, New York, on an abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant site, eight 2.5MW Clipper wind turbines are producing power for the New York State Independent System Operator grid. Called “Steel Winds”, it was a $40 million clean energy project developed and owned jointly by BQ Energy and UPC Wind. The wind turbines (the largest manufactured in the U.S.) can produce 57,000 MW-Hours of electricity a year with the power sold both to individual companies and utilities. Steel Winds is said to be the largest U.S. wind farm developed in an urban setting and the first sited on the shores of Lake Erie.
To meet growing demands, NYSEG needed to reinforce the electrical system capacity for Westchester County by installing a new sub transmission line that would connect the grid to a regional distribution substation.
Bliss Wind Farm, a 100.5 megawatt wind power generation site, was the first of several wind farms recently developed in the Greater Niagra Region of Upstate New York. The site features 67 GE 1.5 megawatt turbines and represents a $200 million investment in clean, renewable energy funded by G.E. Energy Services and operated by Noble Environmental Power.
O'Connell provides comprehensive end-to-end overhead and underground transmission and distribution systems preventative maintenance and emergency response services.