ReCharge NY power allocations create more than $134 million in capital investments and 122 new jobs throughout to support COVID-19 pandemic recovery; HiOperator in Buffalo to create 131 jobs
Video of WNY Energy in Medina producing technical-grade ethanol used in hand sanitizers
The New York Power Authority board of trustees on Tuesday approved economic development awards in support of 960 jobs and $153 million in capital investments statewide in support of New York’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The NYPA board approved nearly three megawatts (MW) of ReCharge NY power to eight enterprises throughout the state. In addition, the board also approved low-cost power allocations and funding awards to enterprises in Western New York and the North Country, including $230,000 in support of HiOperator’s creation of 131 jobs in Buffalo.
John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman and Buffalo resident, said, “NYPA’s hydropower has been a key driver of the state’s economic development success over the years and, as the state safely gets back to work, NYPA’s economic development awards will provide a significant boost to local economies throughout the state.”
Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said, “These economic development awards go directly to a business’s bottom line at a time when support is needed most. Under the Governor’s ‘NY Forward’ plan, the state is safely moving forward from the pandemic, and NYPA is committed to aiding businesses around the state get back on their feet.”
The NYPA board approved allocations of low-cost power under the statewide ReCharge NY program to eight New York enterprises in support of more than 800 jobs, with 122 of those being newly created.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ReCharge NY program, established in 2012, has positively affected the New York economy by encouraging companies to retain and create jobs, while sparking capital investment throughout the state. Including today’s allocations, ReCharge NY awards have been made to 710 businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
The low-cost RNY power awards will be distributed to enterprises in Western New York, Central New York, Finger Lakes, the Capital District and on Long Island. Included among the businesses receiving RNY power are Active Retirement Community in South Setauket on Long Island, Cryomech in DeWitt in Central New York, and Simmons Machine Tool Corporation in Menands in the Capital District.
The NYPA board also approved seven seven-year allocation extensions for existing ReCharge NY customers around the state. Those allocations directly support more than 3,700 jobs and are tied to nearly $214 million in new capital investments over the next several years.
ReCharge NY offers up to seven-year power contracts. Half of the power – 455 MW – is from NYPA’s Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric power plants, which provide some of the greenest, cleanest and lowest-cost electricity in the state. The remaining 455 MW is lower-cost power bought by NYPA on the wholesale market.
Western New York
The NYPA trustees approved a funding award under the Western New York Power Proceeds program to HiOperator in Buffalo. The firm, a customer service delivery entity, is receiving $230,000 to support a $1.35 million expansion project that involves a complete renovation of the current space, including demolition of the current office infrastructure, a buildout of new office space, and the purchase of computers and other IT equipment.
HiOperator has committed to create 131 new positions over the next five years.
The NYPA funding award is made possible through net earnings resulting from the sale of unused hydropower generated at NYPA’s Niagara power plant and stems from power proceeds legislation signed into law by Cuomo in 2012. To be eligible for power proceeds awards, enterprises must be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA’s Niagara power plant and the projects must support the growth of business and lead to the creation or protection of jobs. Contracts include provisions for periodic audits to ensure the funds are used for agreed-upon purposes.
The NYPA board approved a 700-kilowatt hydropower allocation to WNY Energy to support the creation of 10 jobs and $17.5 million in capital investments. The 10-year power allocation is in support of the construction of an 8,000-square-foot addition to its existing facility in Medina that produces technical- and beverage-grade ethanol. The company would also be making significant machinery and equipment purchases as part of its expansion project, which is expected to complete in 2021.
The firm, which has been a NYPA customer since it was established more than 15 years ago, has been receiving 5,000 kW in return for its commitment of 40 jobs. The firm is typically a major producer of ethanol for a variety of industries; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company modified its operations beyond the production of fuel ethanol to produce technical-grade ethanol used in hand sanitizers. The company now provides clients with ethanol needed to produce sanitizer in response to the global pandemic. WNY Energy can produce up to 150,000 gallons of technical-grade ethanol each day.
Low-cost Niagara hydropower is available for companies within a 30-mile radius of the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project or businesses in Chautauqua County. Niagara hydropower is linked to tens of thousands of existing jobs in the region.
Learn more about business growth opportunities supported by the Power Authority on NYPA’s Economic Development webpage.
“As New York begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, this investment will fuel job creation and provide critical support to our state and local economy,” New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy said. “I congratulate HiOperator on this exciting news, and thank Gov. Cuomo for his sustained commitment to Western New York's workforce.”
“Congratulations to HiOperator receiving $230,000 and to WNY Energy on receiving a 700-kilowatt allocation of hydropower. These are critical steps to creating and maintaining local jobs and restarting WNY’s economy in the wake of this terrible pandemic,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said. “I want to thank NYPA’s board of trustees and Gov. Cuomo for his continued investment and commitment to WNY’s growth.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in commending local businesses like Western New York Energy that adapted and rose to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assemblyman Mike Norris said. “Modifying production to fulfill critical needs for our state is a testament the spirit of New York industry and I applaud the investment of ReCharge NY Power Allocations to businesses that think forward, help restart New York and grow our economy and new jobs for the future.”