N.Y. Power Authority Trustees Approve Power Proceeds Awards of $800,000 To Two Western New York Enterprises

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

July 23, 2013


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday approved grants totaling up to $800,000 to two Western New York enterprises, in the second round of Western New York Power Proceeds awards from the net earnings of unutilized power from NYPA’s Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant. 

The trustees acted on the June 26 recommendations of the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board (WNYPPAB) for awards to Ascension Industries of North Tonawanda, a manufacturer of industrial, filtration and separation equipment, and to 425 Michigan Avenue, LLC, a Buffalo work force development enterprise.  The two entities are slated to receive $300,000 and $500,000, respectively, for planned initiatives. 

“The Power Proceeds awards are a means of establishing a more robust Western New York economy by providing capital for promising initiatives to further diversify the region’s job base and encourage investments,” said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman.  “The funding just approved for Ascension Industries and 425 Michigan Avenue will help spur the implementation of expansion plans by these two organizations and is in line with strategic goals of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council for strengthening the area economy.”

“The low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant is fundamental to Western New York’s economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs at key businesses and annual capital investments of hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The Western New York Economic Development Fund, made possible by legislation signed into law last year by Governor Cuomo, brings another dimension to the Power Authority’s contributions to the region’s economy.”

Proceeds from the sale into the wholesale electricity marketplace of currently unutilized hydropower—power that is unassigned or not being used by Replacement Power (RP) and Expansion Power (EP) participants—is the source of the proceeds awards.  The unutilized amount is from that portion of the Niagara project’s power that is dedicated to Western New York businesses under the RP and EP Programs, two economic development program created by statute and administered by NYPA.  More than 100 key area businesses, predominantly energy-intensive manufacturers, receive Niagara hydropower under these two programs. 

Ascension Industries is undertaking a $2.7 million initiative to manufacture equipment at its North Tonawanda plant to convert post-recycled municipal waste into “green power.”  The $300,000 award approved by the NYPA trustees will support Ascension’s expansion plans, which are expected to lead to the addition of 15 jobs to its work force.    

425 Michigan Avenue LLC, a division of McGuire Development, is establishing a $21 million work force development center to help unemployed residents on the east side of Buffalo to move into health care professions.  The $500,000 proceeds award for the center, at the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital, will help support the plans for classrooms, a care facility simulator and an information technology laboratory. 

The WNYPPAB recommended the latest proceeds awards in accordance with statutory provisions requiring that eligible projects be within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara power plant and that the proposed initiatives support the growth of businesses and lead to the creation or protection of jobs.  The WNYPPAB also considers the extent to which proposed awards would be consistent with Regional Economic Development Council strategies and priorities.  

“The proceeds awards to Ascension Industries and for a new work force development center at the former Sheehan Hospital in Buffalo, will further advance efforts by Governor Cuomo to bring new technologies to the region and to provide training and new job opportunities to area residents,” said Howard Zemsky, co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. “I’m looking forward to our teaming with Empire State Development and the Power Authority on similar awards going forward, in our utilization of the hydroelectric power proceeds to further the regional economy.”

The previous awards, for more than $6 million, approved by the NYPA trustees in May following recommendations by the proceeds board, were to Launch NY, a Buffalo nonprofit venture development organization that is dedicated to accelerating the growth of high potential startup companies in the region; Coolture, a manufacturer of medical cooling apparel, also in Buffalo; and Diversified Manufacturing Inc., a fabrication machining and assembly business in Lockport.

With the latest approved awards, approximately $16 million in proceeds money remains available for awards for eligible projects, in the Western New York Economic Development Fund.  The fund will continue to accrue revenues from NYPA’s sale of unassigned hydropower into the wholesale marketplace. 


Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Western New York is unique in our access to low-cost, clean hydropower and again and again we’ve stressed that, like Florida benefits from its sunshine, the Western New York community and economy should directly benefit from this resource that is naturally ours,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “Jobs and economic opportunity can and should flow from our fresh water.”

Senator George Maziarz, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee said, “For many years I fought to keep the earnings from excess power right here in Western New York to benefit local businesses. I’m extremely pleased that Ascension Industries was included in this round of awards, as they are a growing company in Niagara County. I thank the Power Allocation Board, NYPA and Governor Cuomo for their continuing commitment to businesses in Western New York.”

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-C-I-Kenmore, said, “I am very pleased to see the WNY Power Proceeds Allocation Board awarding funding to two worthy enterprises whose applications have met the criteria established by the board.  We in the State Legislature created this mechanism so that the proceeds from the sale of the unused hydropower will remain local and help companies located within a 30 mile radius of the Niagara Power Project expand and add jobs to the local workforce.”

Senator Timothy Kennedy said, “The WNY Power Proceeds grants will effectively power job growth and economic development across the region. Through this program, we’re capitalizing on our hydroelectric energy assets to fuel projects that will boost our economy. The former Sheehan Hospital in Buffalo is the site of one such project. We’ve been proud to support McGuire Development’s exciting workforce development center at 425 Michigan Avenue, which will help train unemployed Western New Yorkers with the skills they need to secure good-paying, high-demand jobs in health care. This is a direct investment in our work force, targeted to Buffalo residents, that will ensure health care remains a growing sector of our regional economy.” 

Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “I would like to congratulate Ascension Industries and 425 Michigan Avenue, LLC on receiving WNY Proceeds Awards from the Power Authority. The opportunity to utilize net earnings of non-utilized power to generate resources for local businesses and development is what continues to propel our region forward. Many thanks to the Power Authority for their work on this grant funding totaling $800,000 for Western New York.'

About NYPA:

The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA has been designated as the lead entity via Executive Order 88 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to form a central management and implementation plan to carry out his Build Smart NY plan to reduce energy use by state facilities by 20 percent by 2020. ■ NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities in various parts of New York State, participation in a unique public/private partnership to contract for power from a clean generating plant in Queens, and its operation of more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■ For more information visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Wordpress and @NYPAenergy on Twitter.

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