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NYPA CEO Announces Hydro Allocation for WNY Firm to Expand Production of Material for Advanced Car Batteries: Low-Cost Power to Spur Creation of 48 New Jobs at Sanborn Facility

Michael Saltzman

October 6, 2009


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced an allocation of low-cost hydropower to Metaullics Systems in Sanborn, Niagara County, for a more than $19 million expansion and 48 new jobs, in connection with the company’s production of material for the development of advanced batteries for electric-drive vehicles (EDVs)

At their meeting on Sept. 29 in Rochester, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved an allocation of four megawatts (mw) from the Niagara Power Project to Metaullics Systems.  The allocation was made under NYPA’s Expansion Power Program, one of two programs that provide low-cost Niagara power for businesses in return for commitments to create jobs in Western New York.    

“This is a marvelous opportunity to support the significant contributions of a company that through this expansion will play a vital role in the production of advanced lithium batteries for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles,” Kessel said. “Under Governor Paterson’s direction, the Power Authority has been aggressively pursuing projects that utilize the available amounts of clean Niagara hydropower to make Western New York a center for clean energy technologies. The allocation to Metaullics Systems is part of that effort and a sign of New York State’s interest in advancing alternative-fueled vehicles to reduce dependence on foreign oil and keep energy dollars from going overseas.” 

Kessel noted that NYPA is one of the leading utilities in the Northeast in clean transportation.  It has helped to put on the road more than 1,000 electric-drive vehicles for use by its customers as well as its own facilities around the state.  Those vehicles have logged more than 10 million miles.   

Metaullics Systems, a division of Pyrotek, Inc., will be adding graphite furnace capacity and other equipment for the expansion, which will be directed to the processing of graphite powders for use in lithium-ion battery production for electric-drive vehicles.  Metaullic Systems is believed to be the only U.S. source of processed graphite for EDV batteries.    

“The NYPA hydropower allocation is expected to be a key reason for this project moving forward in Sanborn instead of at other locations in the U.S., including out-of-state sites currently owned by Pyrotek,” Kevin J. Scott, Metaullics Systems operation manager, said.  “The low-cost power demonstrates New York State’s recognition of the value of this enterprise for adding jobs in Western New York and for helping to advance a highly efficient battery technology for the mass production of electric-drive vehicles.”  

Scott noted that Metaullics Systems is working with the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) on the possibility of other incentives being applied to the expansion. 

“Our agency is looking at various incentives, including tax exemptions and low interest loans, to supplement the support the Power Authority is providing for advancing the job opportunities promised by the Sanborn plant’s expansion,” Henry M. Sloma, chairman of the Niagara IDA said.  “We look forward to Metaullics Systems’ expanding, and additional opportunities to team with NYPA on other job-creating projects.” 

The Metaullics Systems expansion will also benefit from federal stimulus funding. In August, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $2.4 billion in funding for accelerating the domestic development of electric-drive vehicles, batteries and components for various initiatives around the country. Pyrotec, an international organization based in Spokane, Wash., which specializes in high-temperature materials for industrial applications, was awarded $11.3 million for its expansion project. 

Metaullics Systems, which will be adding 72,600 square feet of manufacturing space to its building at 2050 Cory Rd., is currently producing graphite powders for the automotive industry on a limited basis. The plant is adjacent to another Pyrotec facility that also receives Niagara hydropower. For a number of years, that facility has provided graphite powders for lithium-ion batteries in cell phones, laptop computers and small power tools.    

The Western New York Advisory Group (WNAG), consisting of the Power Authority, National Grid, Empire State Development Corp., the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, the Niagara County Department of Economic Development and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, supported the Metaullics Systems allocation.  The WNAG was established in 2003 to help identify qualified companies for the available amounts of Expansion Power and Replacement Power, the other block of Niagara power for Western New York economic development.   

The allocation to Metaullics Systems is the latest of about a dozen that NYPA has made in the last year for spurring jobs and capital investments in Western New York from available amounts of Niagara power. Among the allocations were such clean energy companies as Sunworks Solar, for a new solar manufacturing plant that will employ 175 people; Precision Electro Minerals Co. (PEMCO), a Niagara Falls manufacturer of fused silica for solar-panel grade silicon; and ENrG a Buffalo firm expanding its production capacity of ceramic components for clean energy systems such as fuel cells.  

Tens of thousands of Western New York jobs at more than 130 companies are linked to allocations of hydropower from the Niagara project, with those businesses having a total payroll of approximately $2 billion.  Some 70 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the Buffalo-Niagara region are directly tied to Niagara’s low-cost power, which is provided at rates typically 75 percent less than market prices.


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-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■    About 75 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,

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