NYPA Trustees Advance Proposed 20-Megawatt Hydropower Contract For St. Lawrence County Economic Development: Public hearing to be held in May at St. Lawrence-FDR project

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

March 27, 2012


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees Tuesday authorized a public hearing on a proposed contract for the sale of up to 20 megawatts (MW) of low-cost hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena to support economic development in St. Lawrence County. 

NYPA will review the public comments following the hearing, which is scheduled for May 10, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Lawrence-FDR’s Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center.  The proposed contract would then be submitted to the NYPA Trustees for their approval before going to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his consideration.    

The proposed contract, which is available for review with the applicable rate information on the NYPA website (www.nypa.gov/trustees/contracts), is with the Town of Massena Electric Department (MED).  The contract provides for the active involvement of the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency (RVRDA) and the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Local Development Corporation (IDA) in the review and recommendation process for applications for the low-cost power, which will be known as “St. Lawrence County Economic Development Power” (SCEDP).  MED would be authorized to make “sub-allocations” of SCEDP after consultation with RVRDA, IDA, and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, following approvals by NYPA. SCEDP allocations would be made for the purpose of economic development and job growth in the St. Lawrence County area.     

“The Power Authority Trustees are excited to be advancing the much-anticipated 20-megawatt power contract for supporting the efforts of the RVRDA and area communities to help reinvigorate St. Lawrence County’s economy,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA Trustee and resident of Massena. “NYPA recognizes the great potential this contract provides for North Country economic development and we look forward to advancing it at the conclusion of the public hearing process.  I want to thank the Power Authority staff led by our CEO, Gil Quiniones, and our partners in this endeavor—RVRDA, Massena Electric Department and St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Local Development Corporation—along with area elected officials.  The proposed contract is a significant development that Northern New York can rightly be proud of and look forward to its being finalized.”

“All of the parties worked in unison to put together this contract to make possible new allocations of low-cost hydropower to North Country businesses,” said Judith C. McCarthy, NYPA executive vice president and general counsel.  “Our joint goal is consistent with Governor Cuomo’s priority of marshalling regional assets to promote economic development in the areas of the state that support these resources. The use of this additional hydropower for creating jobs in St. Lawrence County is the essence of what the proposed 20-megawatt contract is all about.”   

 “NYPA’s advancing of the 20-megawatt contract for public review and comment is a pivotal development following last week’s endorsements by the key Northern New York parties,” said Robert O. McNeil, RVRDA chairman.  “This is something we’ve all been working very hard toward, and it is gratifying that we’re on our way toward making this happen.”

“The advancing of the 20-megawatt contract for public input is a significant milestone for the hydropower becoming available to galvanize economic development in Massena and other areas of St. Lawrence County,” said Andrew J. McMahon, superintendent, Massena Electric Department.  “The NYPA Trustees’ action coming only days after the boards of the RVRDA Massena Electric and St. Lawrence IDA acted to endorse the proposed contract puts us on firm footing toward applying this much-valued power for the region’s economy.”

“Low-cost NYPA hydropower brings tremendous savings to our community and area businesses and industries, said Brian W. Staples, chairman, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.  “The opportunity for additional hydropower to kick-start the growth of the County’s private-sector has led the various negotiating partners to all pull together on the 20-megawatt St. Lawrence contract.  I want to thank the Power Authority for recognizing the importance of this contract to the North Country.”   

“The low-cost hydropower subject to this contract will greatly enhance our efforts to attract private investment in our traditional manufacturing, green energy production, agriculture and tourism industries that will transform the North Country into a regional powerhouse,” said Anthony Collins, co-chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. “We are thrilled that this power contract is moving forward so that it can be integrated into our regional plans for the economic revival of St. Lawrence County and the entire North Country region.”

“Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the North Country Economic Development Council looks forward to working together with our local partners and the Power Authority to find ways to maximize the use of this low-cost hydropower to achieve our goals for the revitalization of the region and of St. Lawrence County,” said Garry Douglas, co-chair, North Country Regional Economic Development Council.  “The coordinated and strategic use of our business, cultural, human and natural resources will propel the North Country forward in demonstrating to the state and nation that our region is truly ‘open to business’.”

The Massena Electric Department, which is authorized by New York law to purchase power from NYPA, currently receives nearly 24 megawatts of cost-based hydropower for its retail customers from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project.

The new category of St. Lawrence power would be sold to the MED at cost-based rates, with the power resold to the qualified end users at no mark-up beyond costs incurred by MED.  The proposed power contract would extend to September 2025.

The SCEDP would be drawn from hydropower recaptured from out-of-state users during the federal relicensing in 2003 of the St. Lawrence-FDR project.

A previous 20-MW contract proposed by the parties was disapproved by the Office of Gov. David A. Paterson in December 2010.  NYPA and its negotiating partners revised the contract to address the concerns cited in the disapproval letter.

Comments by Northern New York Elected Officials:

Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, “I want to thank the Power Authority, the RVRDA, Massena Electric Department and the St. Lawrence IDA for the progress that they’ve made toward bringing the 20-megawatt contract to fruition.  Earmarking this power for economic development has been a regional priority for quite a while.  There were some false-starts in 2010 but thankfully that’s behind us and we can look forward to making use of this low-cost hydropower for creating jobs and expanding the county’s job base.” 

Senator Patty Ritchie said, “Today’s action by the NYPA Board of Trustees ushers in the necessary public comment phase for finalizing this long sought-after power contract.  This is great news for giving the St. Lawrence economy a shot in the arm from one of its greatest assets, low-cost hydropower.”

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell said, “I am delighted that all parties involved with this contract have resolved the issues that had stalled an earlier contract.  There is once again momentum on finalizing this agreement, something I have been working to keep on track because of the job creating potential of this amount of low-cost hydropower.   The progress toward the contract’s implementation is a major milestone and credit goes to all those involved for being focused and steadfast in their work.”  

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 is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it 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, www.nypa.gov.


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