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N.Y. Power Authority and Niagara University Reach Agreement for the Relicensing of Niagara Power Project: Agreement Includes $10.5 Million in Funding for University and NYPA’s Transfer of 24-Acre Parcel of Land

Michael Saltzman, NYPA

Linus Ormsby, Niagara University 

May 23, 2006


LEWISTON—An agreement between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Niagara University for the relicensing of the Authority’s Niagara Power Project will support the continuation of low-cost hydropower for Western New York and provide substantial financial benefits for the university and other improvements following issuance of a new 50-year, federal operating license for the generating project.

“This mutually beneficial agreement, for which Governor Pataki has provided valued support, sustains the cooperative relationship that has characterized our two neighboring organizations over nearly a half a century,” said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “It provides far-reaching financial and other benefits to Niagara University and, like earlier agreements for the Niagara Project’s relicensing, it succeeds in protecting the hydroelectric facility’s low-cost electricity, which is crucial to Western New York’s job base and economy.”

On Tuesday, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved the agreement at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, following the Niagara University board’s approval on May 3.

Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of Niagara University, said, “I am pleased that the agreement addresses both the short- and long-term needs of the university. The power, funding and land provided in the agreement will assist us greatly in our campus planning efforts and in meeting our present and future energy needs. The ultimate beneficiaries of this agreement, however, are our students. For years to come, they will be able to enjoy anticipated improvements that will enhance the recreational and aesthetic environment of the Niagara campus.”

Robert J. Dwyer, chairman of the Niagara University board of trustees, said, “Our trustees are pleased not only with the agreement that has been reached, but also by the fact that negotiations have resulted in a positive working relationship between two neighbors who are extremely important to this community. Together, we look to continue our efforts to enhance the life and vitality of the Western New York region.”

Under the agreement, Niagara University will support NYPA’s application for a new license for the Niagara Project, now pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The current license expires August 31, 2007.

Following its acceptance of a new 50-year operating license, NYPA will:

  • Establish a Niagara University Capital Fund of $9.5 million, to be used at the discretion of the university’s Board of Trustees.

  • Establish a Landscape Development Fund for $1 million to enhance the Niagara University campus, such as a new entrance, contouring and plantings.

  • Supply the university with up to 3 megawatts (3,000 kilowatts) of Niagara power, at the business rate for the project’s low-cost electricity.

  • Transfer title to a vacant parcel of land, approximately 24-acres, to the university.

Senator George Maziarz said, “The relicensing agreement between Niagara University and the Power Authority reflects the good-faith efforts of these two key organizations, who’ve worked hard to negotiate a fair-minded deal for the broad groups they represent in Western New York. It means considerable financial benefits for one of our most venerable centers of academic learning, and recognition of the common interests for the Niagara Project’s continued generation of some of the lowest cost electricity in New York State and the country. NYPA and Niagara University are to be congratulated for a job well done.”

Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte said, “The approval of this balanced relicensing agreement by the NYPA and Niagara University boards bodes well for Western New York, promising to vitalize the university with new resources for educating its students and upgrading its campus, while moving the process forward for the Niagara Project’s long-term operation. Both are priorities for our region, and the agreement between NYPA and Niagara University supports them.”

In August 2005, the Power Authority submitted its application to FERC for a new license for the 2,400,000-kilowatt hydroelectric project, along with an Applicant-Prepared Environmental Assessment. It also submitted relicensing settlement agreements with federal and state resource agencies and environmental organizations, area municipalities, the Tuscarora Nation, customers and other stakeholders.

The Niagara Project, which produced its first commercial power in 1961, is New York State’s largest single source of electricity. Its customers include more than 100 Western New York businesses and industries employing more than 43,000 people. Other beneficiaries of its low-cost power include the residential customers of 17 community-owned electric systems in the region and of three upstate investor-owned utilities.


About NYPA:

■    NYPA 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-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 

About Niagara University:

Founded by the Vincentian Community in 1856, Niagara University is a private liberal arts university with a strong, values-based Catholic tradition.  Its four academic divisions include the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management.  The university also maintains an Academic Exploration Program that provides a learning community for students who are undecided about their major.  Located on the Niagara River overlooking the Province of Ontario, Canada, the university is situated at the northern limits of the City of  Niagara Falls, N.Y., about four miles from the world-famous cataracts.  More than 3,800 students are enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate programs.


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