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NYPA President Kelley Cites Benefits of Niagara Power to Businesses

Stephen Shoenholz

September 14, 2007


LEWISTON—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Roger B. Kelley told an international business audience Friday that low-cost hydroelectric power from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project can provide a major advantage to companies locating or expanding on the Niagara Frontier.

“Today, in an age of high technology and a competitive global economy, this invaluable asset may well be more important than ever,” Kelley said at the opening session of the third day of “Explore Buffalo Niagara 2007,” an economic development forum intended to make business leaders aware of the region’s attributes.

In remarks at the Power Vista, the Niagara project’s admission-free visitors center, Kelley said the hydropower often plays a “critical and potentially decisive role” in companies’ investment decisions.

“Many of our customers face worldwide competition, throughout their industries and within their own companies,” he said.  “As they frequently tell us, Niagara power is the reason they’re here.”

Noting that the Power Authority was the first sponsor for the Explore Buffalo Niagara conference, Kelley said NYPA takes “very seriously” its responsibilities as a member of the Niagara Frontier community and “the custodian of a priceless energy resource.”

He said Niagara power, which ranks among the least expensive in the nation, helps to support more than 44,000 jobs at about 125 Western New York companies.  The power is tied to about 70 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area and, with multiplier effects, is linked to almost $16 billion in annual gross regional product.

With 77 megawatts now available for new allocations to businesses from blocks known as replacement power and expansion power, Kelley said NYPA is prepared to work with companies

and other state and local entities to facilitate the application and approval processes.  Businesses receiving the power will be required to create specified numbers of jobs and to invest in new or expanded Western New York facilities.

Kelley said this would be in line with Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s commitment to strengthen the economy on the Niagara Frontier and elsewhere in upstate New York.

A number of recent allocations, Kelley said, have demonstrated the vital role of Niagara power.  He cited examples ranging from GEICO’s establishment of a national service center in Amherst, with 650 new jobs, to Western New York Energy’s $78 million investment in a Medina facility, nearing completion, for the production of ethanol for use in motor vehicles.

Kelley noted that NYPA’s new 50-year federal license for the Niagara project took effect at the start of this month and that the Authority had previously completed a $298 million upgrade at the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, the project’s main generating facility.

“The successful relicensing means that the Power Authority will be operating the Niagara project for many years to come,” he said.  “And the upgrade means we’ll be operating it at maximum efficiency.  That’s an extremely promising combination for businesses, present and future, that require a reliable, economical power source.”

Kelley said NYPA will provide numerous economic, environmental and recreational benefits on the Niagara Frontier under agreements reached as part of the relicensing.  Of particular interest to businesses, he said, the Authority will contribute nearly $180 million over the license term for revitalization of the Buffalo waterfront and will provide $450 million in that period for development of a 35-mile Niagara River Greenway.

He said the goal for the waterfront “is to again make that area the thriving commercial center it once was and a mecca for companies desiring prime locations and access to major U.S. and Canadian markets.”

“The Greenway,” Kelley said, “promises to significantly boost tourism in the region and to enhance its already enviable quality of life.”

 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.

Mr. Kelley's remarks

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