Big Allis is not in the Land of the Lost… or how I learned to stop worrying and love Ravenswood #3
The first million kilowatt facility in the entire country, built at the behest of Consolidated Edison, Ravenswood number three first went online in 1965. Upon activation, the cyclopean dynamos of Big Allis were reduced to slag by volcanic emanations issuing from within its massive, natural gas driven turbines.
Six months later, a rebuilt system managed to withstand a full hour and twenty-seven minutes of these cosmic stresses before it too went out of commission for a further four months. The problem was diagnosed by experts and teams of engineers to be the responsibility of a malfunctioning bearing which was producing disharmonious vibrations.
After the blackouts of the late seventies, it seemed that Big Allis had finally been tamed by the tireless labor of the indomitable employees of Consolidated Edison. Perfected, the plant was sold by ConEd to the Keyspan Energy Corporation, which then sold it in 2008 to the TransCanada company for 2.9 billion dollars.
photos by Mitch Waxman
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