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N.Y. Power Authority Trustees Authorize Acceptance of New Niagara License

Paul Demichele

May 22, 2007


 LEWISTON—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees marked a historic milestone for the statewide public power utility and the Niagara Power Project Tuesday by authorizing acceptance of a new 50-year project license, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 15, more than five months before the expiration of the current one, on August 31. 

“The new Niagara license is testament to the cooperative process that we turned to more than five years ago for involving interested parties in the community in identifying wide-ranging issues and addressing them in our license application and environmental assessment, and in the settlement agreements reached with these and other stakeholders,” said Frank S. McCullough, Jr., NYPA chairman. “This was an ambitious undertaking for shaping the future of an extraordinarily important generating facility for Western New York and New York State. The challenge was to protect the low-cost hydropower for Buffalo-Niagara region jobs while conferring additional financial, environmental and recreational benefits to the region. Working together, we succeeded.” 

Multiple settlement agreements for Niagara’s relicensing will provide benefits valued at approximately $1 billion over the 50-year license for Western New York communities. In addition, local governments and school districts in Niagara County and other area stakeholders will obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in savings from hydropower allocations under contracts approved Tuesday by the NYPA trustees, stemming from the settlement agreements. (See separate news release.) 

Chairman McCullough and the other members of the NYPA board formally signed a resolution Tuesday authorizing Timothy S. Carey, NYPA president and chief executive officer, to accept the new operating license. The original federal license was issued in 1957, followed by the project’s first commercial power in 1961.  

Last December, the Power Authority completed a nearly $300 million, multiyear upgrade at Niagara to maximize the project’s operating efficiency and provide for its effective long-term-operation. “Together, the upgrade and the new license ensure that the Niagara project is poised to provide substantial benefits for Western New York for decades ahead,” Chairman McCullough said. 

The Niagara project’s low-cost electricity, provided at rates 75 percent less than wholesale market prices, protects more than 43,000 jobs on the Niagara Frontier and annual payrolls totaling $2 billion. In addition to the industrial power, the project’s output is also provided to upstate investor-owned utilities for use by residential consumers and community-owned electric systems in various parts of the state. A portion is also sold to seven neighboring states under federal requirements. 

  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.

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