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WNY firms supported with Niagara hydropower to create more than 100 jobs


Tue, Mar 26th 2024 03:25 pm

NYPA board approves funding for NACC, Buffalo Games, Mayer Brothers

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced low-cost power awards to 11 firms to spur more than $5.2 billion in capital investments. The awards, approved by the New York Power Authority board of trustees, support 5,781 jobs throughout the state. In addition, two funding awards, totaling more than $1 million, were awarded to two firms in Western New York, including the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.

Hochul said, “The Empire State is open for business, and these substantial investments in a clean energy future underscore our position as a global hub for modern manufacturing.”

Western New York Hydropower

The NYPA board approved low-cost Niagara hydropower allocations to Buffalo Games and Mayer Brothers.

Buffalo Games, an Erie County manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles and board games, was awarded 750 kilowatts (kW) of low-cost Niagara hydropower to support the firm’s $6.5 million expansion project. Buffalo Games is upgrading its manufacturing capabilities, warehousing and distribution infrastructure, and power service. The expansion is expected to increase jigsaw puzzle production by more than 6 million units annually and create 95 jobs.

ESD is incentivizing Buffalo Games’ continued growth in Erie County by providing up to $1 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for job creation commitments. In addition, Buffalo Games also received a $105,000 economic development grant from National Grid.

The NYPA trustees approved a 210-kW Niagara hydropower allocation to Mayer Brothers for a more than $1.5 million expansion project. Mayer Brothers, one of the oldest family-owned businesses in New York, is a manufacturer, processor and distributor of apple juice, cider, water and other beverage products. The firm, established in 1852, will construct a new building to produce bottles used in the cider and water sectors of its operation. The building will house additional equipment and machinery related to its bottling operations, accommodating an increase in the output of bottles, and allowing the company to produce beverages in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. The expansion project will support nearly 300 jobs, with six being newly created.

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.

Western New York Power Proceeds

The NYPA board also approved more than $1 million in funding awards from the Western New York Power Proceeds Fund to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, and Irish Welding in Erie County.

The NACC – a nonprofit organization that houses work from more than 100 artists and is comprised of three theaters, a radio station, a public classroom space, and two public and numerous private galleries – was awarded $1 million in funding to support an $8.5 million restoration. The project will upgrade the facility’s Legacy Theatre, associated restrooms and energy infrastructure, including upgrading the facility’s HVAC system. The project is also being supported by a $4 million capital grant from the Regional Economic Community Assistance Program, which is managed by ESD.

The NYPA board approved an $87,000 funding award to Irish Welding, a Buffalo-based, family-owned company that distributes carbonic supplies and gases, and soft drink syrup and juice products in Western New York. The funds will be used by the firm to undertake a nearly $437,000 project to construct a new water line. Irish Welding currently receives its water from an old, 3,000-foot line often subjected to railroad traffic vibration that has caused leaks. The project will allow the company to remain at its current location, supporting 83 jobs.

The board also approved allocations of nearly 32 megawatts (MW) of low-cost power under the ReCharge NY program to be directed to nine companies in the Capital District, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, Hudson Valley, New York City and on Long Island.

ReCharge NY offers power contracts with terms up to seven years. Half of the power – 455 MW – is from NYPA’s Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric power plants. The remaining 455 MW is lower-cost power bought by NYPA on the wholesale market.

A full list of today’s ReCharge NY power allocations and economic development awards is available here.

NYPA funding awards are made possible through net earnings resulting from the sale of unused hydropower generated at the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project and stems from power proceeds legislation signed into law in 2012.

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, “The Niagara hydropower allocated to Buffalo Games and Mayer Brothers will ensure that the two Western New York-based businesses have the resources to expand their operations, creating more than 100 jobs and strengthening the region’s economy. The New York Power Authority is committed to its support of Western New York through the allocation of low-cost power from the Niagara Power Project, which supports tens of thousands of regional jobs in the region and is the backbone of New York’s clean energy economy.”

New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The Power Proceeds funding approved by the NYPA board will help the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center preserve a nationally recognized historic building and support its mission to provide a creative space for local artists and art enthusiasts. The funding awards approved at today’s meeting underscore the Power Authority’s commitment to being a good neighbor to communities surrounding NYPA facilities and infrastructure.”

Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, “I’d like to thank NYPA and Gov. Hochul for their continued support for economic development and their focus on our great Niagara Arts and Cultural Center. This grant will assist in preserving this historic building and promote the arts. The arts bring cultures together with a common goal of creativity, camaraderie and friendships.”

National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa said, “Buffalo Games is one of many companies with whom we’ve worked that have benefitted from our robust suite of economic development programs; they’ve demonstrated that they’re expanding operations, retaining jobs, and adding staff members. Through our Electric Capital Investment Grant program, which offsets business expansion-related utility infrastructure upgrade costs, we provided $105,000. We look forward to continuing to work with Buffalo Games to identify cost-saving opportunities through other programs, including those that offer energy efficiency incentives.”

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.

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