New Jobs, Retention of 363 jobs and Nearly $100 Million in Capital Investments Linked to Hydropower Allocations and Power Proceeds Awards
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved allocations of low-cost hydropower to three Western New York companies. The trustees also approved Western New York Power Proceeds awards for three other firms in the region. Together, they will support nearly $100 million in capital investments and 363 jobs—including 157 new positions.
"With this low cost power, these companies have committed to creating new jobs in Western New York, as well as making millions in capital investments," Governor Cuomo said. "These commitments are yet more good news for a region that is truly on the move."
The hydropower will be drawn from NYPA’s Niagara Power Plant and allocated to Just Greens in Lackawanna, North American Hoganas in Niagara Falls, both in Niagara County, and Cummins in Lakewood, Chautauqua County. North American Hoganas currently benefits from prior hydropower allocations.
In addition, the trustees approved funding under the Western New York Power Proceeds initiative to We Care Transportation and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, two Buffalo firms, and Cambria Asphalt Products in Cambria, Niagara County.
John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman, said, “The NYPA hydropower programs in Western New York account for one-third of the Niagara plant’s generating output and are a cornerstone in the region’s economy. These low-cost hydropower allocations and these proceeds funding awards act as impactful assets for businesses seeking to lower their costs.”
The latest allocations, totaling 2,940 kilowatts (kW), come from NYPA’s Expansion Power program for Western New York businesses that commit to creating new jobs from expansion projects. The allocations are to be provided over seven-year contracts.
Just Greens obtained a 1,840 kW allocation for its plans to construct a 68,000-square-foot vertical farm in the Lackawanna Business Park. Vertical farming is year-round hydroponic vegetable food production in multi-story greenhouses. The $32.6 million facility will be built on 12 acres, placing it among the world’s largest and most advanced vertical farms. A total of 36 jobs would be created over three years. Just Greens is also working with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for additional support and incentives.
State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “By allocating low-cost hydropower to these companies, New York is investing in our local economy and encouraging long-term growth. Just Greens is in an area in need of significant investment and job creation. I commend NYPA and Governor Cuomo for recognizing the impact this hydropower distribution has on Western New York and for supporting these worthy projects.”
North American Hoganas, a long-time customer of NYPA and the largest supplier of iron powder in the world, will receive 400 kW of hydropower and invest $3 million in its Niagara Falls facility, creating 10 jobs. Iron powder is used for auto parts, food fortification and preservation and water treatment. Construction has already begun and operations are expected to begin this summer.
Cummins will receive 700 kW to convert 40,000 square feet of warehouse space into a new machine line. The component manufacturing company, which has been in operation at its Jamestown Engine plant since 1974 and currently employs more than 1,400, produces three diesel engine platforms, along with blocks and heads, camshafts and crankshafts. The firm will invest a minimum of $47 million and create 10 jobs.
Cummins is also working with Empire State Development, which has offered up to $2 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for Cummins job creation and investment commitments, and the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency for additional support and incentives.
Senator Catharine Young said, “Expansion of manufacturing at Cummins Engine will strengthen our economy and grow more job opportunities for our families. Clean, lower-cost energy will help the company continue to compete in the global marketplace, and their investment in our community truly is phenomenal.”
Expansion Power is reserved for companies within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara plant or for businesses in Chautauqua County and is currently priced more than 40 percent lower than wholesale market electricity in the region. The hydropower is linked to tens of thousands of jobs at more than 100 businesses in the region.
We Care Transportation is one of the largest providers of transportation to the physically handicapped and the elderly in Western New York. It will receive a $1 million proceeds award to assist in retrofitting its operations to accommodate compressed natural gas vehicles, lowering its fuel costs. The firm currently employs 200 people. This project is expected to allow the firm to retain those jobs and hire 100 additional employees. ESD has also offered $1 million in incentives to We Care Transportation ($460,000 in regional council funds and a $540,000 Economic Development Fund grant) for construction of a CNG fueling station and the purchase of new vehicles.
Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “The NYPA power proceeds initiative is a win-win for our region. We Care Transportation will continue to provide accessible jobs that east side neighborhood residents can walk to. I applaud Governor Cuomo on his continued efforts to create new jobs and opportunities for Buffalo and Western New York.”
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise is a not-for-profit economic development organization that will receive nearly $66,000 to conduct a labor market study in the Buffalo-Niagara region. The study will provide workforce development organizations an in-depth analysis of short- and long-term job projections by target industry, the number of graduates the region’s schools produce to fill these jobs, potential gaps that exist between demand for labor and supply, and typical career pathways for the region’s seven high-growth target industries.
Cambria Asphalt Products was awarded nearly $73,000 for installation of a new natural gas pipeline to its Lockport Junction Road facility, allowing the firm to lower costs and improve plant emissions. The project will allow for the retention of six employees and the hiring of an additional staff person.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Western New York wins when we take the benefits of the clean and affordable hydropower that is uniquely ours and reinvest it in jobs and projects which support our community’s economy. We commend the NYPA board for their continued commitment to initiatives that move this region forward.”
Assemblyman John Ceretto said, “These incentives are a home run for everyone in Western New York. They will continue to help revitalize the economy by providing millions of dollars in capital investments. I’m excited to see the outcome of Governor Cuomo’s initiatives and continue to watch our economy flourish.”
Senator Rob Ortt, said, “NYPA’s latest allocations of low-cost hydropower and approved power funding awards for several local businesses will further strengthen our economy and create new jobs that Western New York desperately needs. These incentives will spur economic development and continue to move our region forward."
Western New York Proceeds awards are made possible from net earnings obtained from the market sale of unutilized Niagara hydropower and stem from legislation signed into law in 2012 by Governor Cuomo. Recommended awards are made by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board.
Including the latest awards, 30 enterprises have received nearly $22 million in funding since 2013. Through the end of this April, NYPA has provided more than $41 million to the proceeds fund.
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