The New York Power Authority board of trustees has approved a new allocation of low-cost hydropower to Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics for an expansion project at its Niagara County facility. The $4.5 million project will lead to the creation of seven new jobs at the location.
The allocation is made possible by an economic development program for allotments of power from NYPA's Niagara Power Project in return for job and capital investment commitments.
"Low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project is a key component to economic development in Western New York," NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said. "Providing this power allocation to Saint-Gobain will assist the company in its ambitious expansion plans at its Niagara Falls location."
Saint-Gobain, a global building and high-performance material manufacturer with operations in 64 countries, will receive 300 kilowatts of low-cost hydropower to support increased power demand as a result of a planned 40,000-square-foot expansion to add a new product line at its facility in Wheatfield. The expansion is expected to be completed by December 2017.
"Saint-Gobain has been a longtime customer of the Power Authority," NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said. "It provides an excellent example of how Niagara hydropower continues to play a vital role in creating new jobs and spurring capital investments in Western New York."
Saint-Gobain receives several other NYPA power allocations at various locations throughout New York, where it employs 1,240 workers.
Low-cost Niagara hydropower is currently priced more than 50 percent less than wholesale market electricity in the Buffalo-Niagara region and is linked to tens of thousands of existing jobs. In addition to the new jobs, the capital investment by Saint-Gobain is expected to support additional construction jobs.
"In 2015, Saint-Gobain celebrates its 350th anniversary," Assemblyman John Ceretto said. "This exceptional company is sharing its future with us and, in so doing, creating more jobs for our county. For this, I thank them and the New York Power Authority for helping to make this expansion possible. We must continue to make low-cost power a vehicle to improve the economy of our region."
"This new power allocation from the Niagara Power Project is a step in the right direction for Niagara County," State Sen. Rob Ortt said. "This investment will help strengthen our local economy. Whenever there is job creation and economic development, everybody benefits."
In other business, the trustees approved $12 million for the first round of funding for a new energy innovation competition connected to the Five Cities Energy Plans announced Feb. 17 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Buffalo is among the cities that will be eligible for grants, along with Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Yonkers.