Sale of Power Will Help Create New Jobs and Spur Capital Investments in Region
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that allows proceeds from the sale of a block of hydropower from the New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project to be used for economic development in St. Lawrence County. The Northern New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act will generate approximately $2 million a year from the hydropower sale and will be available to qualified enterprises in support of capital investments and new jobs in the region.
“St. Lawrence County plays an important role in driving the economy throughout the North Country – and this legislation supports that relationship by clearing the way for targeted investments in some of the region’s best assets,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am proud to sign the Northern New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act because it gives another boost to help attract businesses and create jobs in the region.”
The nearly $2 million in earnings will come from the sale of hydropower that in 2012 was made available to the Town of Massena to allocate to businesses in consultation with local economic development organizations, including the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Local Development Corporation.
The ability to use the proceeds of this sale for awards to eligible businesses and nonprofits in St. Lawrence County is one of the key elements included in a tentative agreement reached in December 2014 between the New York Power Authority and the St. Lawrence Local Government Task Force (LGTF), the result of the completion of a 10-year review of a settlement agreement between the two entities for the 2003 federal relicensing of the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project. (Additional details on the review can be read here.)
“This is a significant milestone for the area economy,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The legislation is also consistent with the Power Authority’s efforts to identify further economic development opportunities, in connection with the 10-year review of the settlement agreement for the 2003 relicensing of the St. Lawrence hydroelectric plant.”
The net earnings from the sale of up to 20 megawatts of hydropower will be used for awards to eligible businesses in St. Lawrence County through a Northern New York Economic Development Fund created by the Act. The legislation also creates a Northern New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board, whose purpose will be to make recommendations for how power is allocated based on specific criteria, including capital investments and jobs. The Board will consist of five members appointed by the Governor. NYPA trustees will consider the Board’s recommendations and award grants as they are approved.
During the first five years of the Act’s implementation, net earnings generated from the sale of up to 20 MW of hydropower into the wholesale electricity market will be available as a source of capital for qualified businesses (one MW is enough electricity to meet the needs of 800 to 1,000 typical homes). The 20 MW is drawn from hydropower previously sold to out-of-state electricity customers and redirected to New York State during the 2003 St. Lawrence-FDR project relicensing.
After five years of the Act’s implementation, up to 10 MW of the unallocated power will be available for sale to generate funds. However, the power may also be allocated to eligible businesses instead of sold to generate revenue at any point in time.
Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee and Massena resident, said, “The Northern New York Proceeds legislation will further bolster the extraordinary value that the St. Lawrence-FDR project brings to the North Country as a cornerstone for the area economy.”
Joseph D. Gray, chair, St. Lawrence Local Government Task Force, said, “The ability to monetize the hydropower promises to make a big difference for economic development in our area. This is a crucial facet of the tentative agreement that the task force reached with NYPA in the 10-year review of the 2003 settlement agreement for the St. Lawrence’s plant’s relicensing. The Governor’s signing of the Proceeds bill will set everything else in motion.”
Jonathan Putney, chairman of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators, said, “Governor Cuomo’s signing of the Proceeds legislation marks the beginning of a new chapter in energizing our economy from the monetization of unutilized amounts of St. Lawrence power.”
Robert O. McNeil, chairman of the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency, said, “We have been working for nearly four years to bring the monetized value of our economic development power to this area. We look forward to helping to maximize the local benefits from this unique new resource.”
Patrick J. Kelly, chief executive officer of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, said, “The legislation significantly increases the tools available for bringing jobs and investments to St. Lawrence County. We appreciate Governor Cuomo's continued focus on economic development and are excited to work with the Power Authority and Empire State Development to put these resources into action.”
The Northern New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act is similar to legislation created in 2012 for the use of unutilized hydropower from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project for economic development in Western New York.
Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, “The much-needed funds from Northern New York proceeds will help promote capital investment and job creation in the North Country. I am pleased local communities will have access to these funds to grow the local economy in 2015.”
Senator Patty Ritchie said, “The use of low-cost power remains a key strategy for economic development in the North Country. The benefits from Northern New York proceeds will continue to strengthen the partnership between NYPA and it host communities to foster job creation and development of the North Country economy.”
Assemblywoman Addie Russell said, “The signing of the Northern New York Proceeds bill is great news. The new economic development funding will be yet another tool that can be used to spur job creation and investment in the local economy for many years to come.”