NYPA Opens Office in Buffalo, Highlighting Commitment to Western New York

Michael Saltzman

November 9, 2009


BUFFALO—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel marked the Power Authority’s opening of an office in the Cobblestone District of Downtown Buffalo at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.  Joining Kessel at the ceremony were Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and other Western New York officials, as well as two NYPA Trustees from Erie County—D. Patrick Curley and Elise M. Cusack.

“The Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project is of major importance to Western New York’s economy, with tens of thousands of jobs directly linked to the project’s low-cost hydropower,” Kessel said.  “Our new Buffalo office will advance the additional role that we play for the region in our providing of customized energy efficiency measures to public facilities and other enterprises.  It also signifies the priority that we’re giving to furthering our already close ties to the city, Erie County and Western New York. 

“The new office will lead the Power Authority’s upstate energy efficiency efforts, with assigned conservation engineers working out of the facility, along with a community relations representative,” Kessel said.    

“I welcome the New York Power Authority to its new office in downtown Buffalo and I commend NYPA President and CEO Richard Kessel for continuing to fulfill his commitment to increasing NYPA’s presence in our city and region,” Mayor Brown said. “The new NYPA office will provide greater service to the Authority’s customers in our region, improve the efficiency of that service and contribute positively to a variety of economic development projects underway or scheduled for future implementation.”

NYPA’s new office—nearly 1,100 square feet of space at 95 Perry Street—is near the Buffalo waterfront, for which the Power Authority is providing $279 million of funding and other support for the revitalization of harbor and greenway areas.  This is in line with a 2006 settlement agreement with Buffalo and Erie County stemming from the relicensing of the Niagara project.

 “The new office contributes to the efficiency of our staff by reducing the travel time for activities in the city and other Western New York locations, especially for our conservation engineers,” said NYPA Trustee Curley. “Our presence in Buffalo also has symbolic value, underscoring our close relationship with the city and Erie County.”

“The City of Buffalo and Erie County are close and valued partners of the Power Authority in connection with the crucial work that we do for creating jobs through strategic lower-cost hydropower allocations and investing in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies,” said NYPA Trustee Cusack, who lives in Eggertsville. “Our new downtown Buffalo office gives emphasis to this relationship, which has received increasing attention under President Kessel’s leadership.”     

The new office will support major energy efficiency initiatives in various stages of development. They include a lighting upgrade and heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system improvements at two Buffalo armories run by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs; installation of chillers, lighting and “smart metering” equipment at the University at Buffalo’s (UB) North Campus in Amherst; lighting improvements, boiler replacements and other energy management measures at the Williamsville Central School District in Amherst; and air-conditioning system improvements at the Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark owned by the City of Buffalo.    

To date, the Power Authority has invested more than $50 million in a wide range of energy efficiency projects at public facilities in Erie and Niagara counties, saving taxpayers nearly $2.8 million a year in energy costs.

NYPA also has major plans for investing in new clean energy technologies in Buffalo and other upstate areas.  They include a UB solar photovoltaic (PV) project, which will be one of the largest solar installations on any campus in the country; an up-to-100-megawatt PV project with solar power arrays at sites around the state; and the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, for advancing the development of wind power projects in the New York State waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.   

In marking the official opening of the Power Authority’s Buffalo office, Kessel cited NYPA’s significant presence in Western New York, as represented by the more than 300 employees at the Niagara project in Lewiston.  Their wages and purchases of goods and services in the region account for approximately $80 million a year.

About 130 area companies, with an annual payroll of approximately $2 billion, benefit from low-cost Niagara power, in return for job commitments. Some 70 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Erie and Niagara counties are supported by Niagara power.

Recent job-producing power allocations have been made to such companies as ENrG, for expanding production capacity at its Buffalo facility for fuel cells and other clean energy systems; GEICO, for a new operations center in Amherst; Yahoo!, for a new data center in Lockport; and Steel Development, for a new manufacturing facility at a Western New York site to be determined.         



Senator William Stachowski, the Chair of the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, said: "I welcome the Power Authority to Buffalo and look forward to partnering with them in furthering our economic development projects. NYPA has gotten behind many of the ideas we have discussed and they have made a commitment to furthering green initiatives and using their expertise to help us here in Western New York. Their physical presence in our historic waterfront neighborhood demonstrates that commitment."

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt said: "Given that the power generated by the Niagara Power Project represents a large percentage of the NYPA revenues, it is only appropriate that they have a presence in the economic center of the region.  I applaud Governor Paterson for this decision."

Erie County Legislator Tim Kennedy said: "I want to thank President Kessel for investing into this once vacant, dilapidated building. I look forward to continuing to work with President Kessel and our partners in both the public and private sectors in order to create a reinvigorated urban landscape."

Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen said: "Congratulations to Richard Kessel and the New York State Power Authority on the opening of its new Buffalo office, conveniently located in the same Cobblestone District building as our ESD Western New York regional office.  ESD and NYPA are already great partners and now, with offices separated by one flight of stairs, we will be able to collaborate even more efficiently on economic development projects that create jobs and revitalize Western New York."

Andrew J. Rudnick, Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Given NYPA's importance to economic development in the Buffalo Niagara region, we appreciate the accessibility this new location offers to our employer community. Particularly as energy intensifies as an important issue in our region—and opportunities arise related to renewable energy—having NYPA within arm's reach is a valuable resource for our members and economic development partners."

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. ■ More than 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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