Dual Powers

757,500 gallons.

That’s how much water flows over Niagara Falls each and every second.

If you’d like to experience all that water up close, you can literally ‘soak it all in’ by embarking on the Cave of the Winds tour, where you hike through the Niagara Gorge and endure tropical storm-like conditions mere feet from the Falls. You can also take a ride on the Maid of the Mist, an attraction that has been taking visitors by boat right to the base of the Falls for more than 150 years.

The Falls are much more than a tourist attraction, however. With the water falling at a rate of 32 feet per second, it hits the base with up to 2,509 tons of force. Simply put, that is a lot of energy. Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse made the innovative decision to harness it by building Niagara Falls’ first hydro-electric power plant in 1895.

In 1931, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the New York Power Authority to further develop the hydropower at the Falls. On January 28, 1961, NYPA opened the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, which was, at the time, the largest hydroelectric project in the Western World.

Over the next 50 years, NYPA grew to become the largest state power organization in America, with 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

NYPA made the decision in 2013 to pump $5.4 million back into the region by helping fund 43North. Said John Koelmel, NYPA’s chairman, “We want [entrepreneurs from around the world] to take a shot at making their dream come true hereā€¦ This is more than just another economic development initiative.” In just its first year of existence, 43North received 6,932 applications from 96 countries and all 50 states.

All thanks to the powers of Niagara Falls and NYPA.

Top right photo courtesy of Kleinschmidt