Natural Power: The New York Power Authority's Origins and Path to Clean Energy

Now available from Cosimo Books

"The New York Power Authority is maybe one of our proudest boasts. You almost never hear about the New York Power Authority, but you should. It would do us all a lot of good: you can see government at its very best."
-- Gov. Mario Cuomo, 1991


The Niagara Power Plant, built by Robert Moses in 1961, remains the Power Authority's leading producer of clean energy among its sixteen power plants across New York State. All the energy it generates belongs to the state and the people of New York.

Images from the History of Electricity and New York's Power Authority


[All photos New York Power Authority. All rights reserved. Use of photos permitted, provided that the New York Power Authority is credited.]

Thomas Edison, who launched the world's first commercial power plants in New York in 1882.

Nikola Tesla designed the first commercial Alternating Current (AC) power plant for George Westinghouse at Niagara Falls in 1895.

Governor Hughes declared in 1907 that the waterpower of New York State "should be preserved and held for the benefit of the people and should not be surrendered to private interests." It was half a century before the Republican governor's dictum would be realized, when the New York Power Authority began generating power along the St. Lawrence River and at Niagara Falls.

Governor Franklin Roosevelt signing the Power Authority Act in 1931.

Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and NYPA's first Board of Trustees, 1931, with NYPA Chairman Frank Walsh seated beside him.

Robert Moses, NYPA Chairman, 1954-1962.

St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant under construction, 1958.

St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant (center) under construction, 1958. The Eisenhower Lock on the Seaway is at left.

The St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant after its completion in 1959.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower with Robert Moses at the dedication of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Plant, 1959.

The first ships pass through Eisenhower Lock on the Seaway, 1958.

Niagara Falls Power Plant construction, 1961.

Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant under construction, 1961.

Niagara Power Plant Construction, 1961.

Niagara Power Plant Construction, 1961.

Niagara Power Dam

Niagara Falls Power Plant and Lewiston Pumped Storage Plant and Reservoir.

James FitzPatrick, NYPA Chairman, 1962-1977.

James FitzPatrick, NYPA Chairman, presides over the dedication of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage facility, 1973.

Clark Energy Center, the hub of NYPA's operations

John Dyson, NYPA Chairman, 1979-1985.

Richard Flynn

David Freeman, President and CEO of NYPA, 1994-5,

Governor Charles Poletti (and former NYPA Trustee).

Governor Mario Cuomo at the dedication of the Long Island Sound Cable, 1991.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Gil Quiniones, current President and CEO of the New York Power Authority