NYPA President Announces Hydropower allocations to Bring New Company to Medina and Support Expansion of Buffalo Firm

Michael Saltzman
(914) 390-8181

February 25, 2010


WHITE PLAINS—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today announced two new allocations of low-cost hydropower to bring a new manufacturing facility to Orleans County and support the expansion of an existing manufacturer in Buffalo.  The allocations will create 62 new jobs from capital investments exceeding $7 million.  

At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved allocations from the Niagara Power Project to Continental Carbonic Products for the construction of a dry ice manufacturing facility in Medina and to Sweeney Steel Service Corp. for a steel manufacturing facility that has been in operation for 40 years. The manufacturing processes of both facilities are energy intensive, with electricity accounting for a sizable portion of overall production costs.

“The latest allocations of low-cost Niagara hydropower highlight our continued success in working with state and local economic development agencies to attract new companies to Western New York and support the expansion of existing businesses,” Kessel said. “Spurring the region’s economy is a top priority of Governor Paterson and his administration, particularly in these difficult economic times. We’re applying our best efforts on this front from our allocations of available hydropower and other measures such as enhanced and expedited funding for the revitalization of the Buffalo waterfront.”

The NYPA Trustees approved a hydropower allocation of 800 kilowatts (kw) for Continental Carbonic to create 35 jobs at a new 25,000-square-foot facility the company is planning to build at Medina Business Park.  The firm expects to invest nearly $6 million in the new facility, which will produce dry ice products for various industries, including food processing, meat packaging, research and development and dry-ice blasting (cleaning with dry ice). 

“We’re grateful to the Power Authority for its support of this new venture,” said David Butts, vice president, Continental Carbonic. “The low-cost hydropower is of fundamental importance for our moving ahead with the Medina facility, whose proximity to our East Coast customers is part of the appeal of this location.” 

“This project is a perfect fit for the community and for Western New York,” said State Senator George D. Maziarz, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.  “Continental is a widely respected name in the energy-intensive industry that it operates in. Everyone is very enthusiastic about this project and the synergy it creates, so we’re appreciative of the support that NYPA is providing with the low-cost power allocation.”

“The Power Authority’s allocation of low-cost hydropower to Sweeney Steel will allow the company to develop new steel manufacturing opportunities as part of a new business model,” said Assemblyman Jack Quinn. “The continued ability of Sweeney Steel and businesses like it to create and sustain manufacturing jobs is essential to Western New York’s economic future, so I’m delighted by NYPA’s support of this endeavor.” 

Regarding the facility planned by Continental Carbonic, the Orleans Economic Development Agency (OEDA) and other parties are also working with the company, with the new facility expected to go into operation next year. The company is based in Decatur, Ill.

“The Power Authority’s hydropower allocation is a significant development in making it possible for Continental Carbonic to expand its operations to Orleans County,” said James Whipple, chief executive officer, OEDA.  “The low-cost power is a pivotal element of the state and local government incentives that are being arranged to make this new manufacturing facility a reality. Our thanks to Richard Kessel and the NYPA Trustees for recognizing the importance of this facility to our community.”

Sweeney Steel, which currently specializes in flat-rolled steel products for the automotive industry, received an allocation of 800 kw of hydropower in support of plans to add 27 new jobs at its Buffalo facility, where 23 people are now employed. The company is remodeling the facility to accommodate the installation of steel-strapping production lines to expand its customer base in the U.S. and worldwide. 

Steel strapping is used primarily in the packaging industry to secure and attach items to transport structures. There are no other steel-strapping manufacturers in New York State.

The Western New York Advisory Group (WNYAG), 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 Tuesday’s allocations to Continental Carbonic and Sweeney Steel Service. 

The WYNAG was established in 2003 to help identify qualified companies for the available amounts of Replacement Power (RP) and Expansion Power (EP)—two large amounts of Niagara power that are reserved under New York State law for Western New York businesses. The two latest allocations will be drawn from Replacement Power. 

Kessel noted that the NYPA Trustees last year approved allocations from the Niagara project to create or protect approximately 1,850 jobs at new or existing Western New York businesses in connection with capital investments by the companies of more than $640 million. Among the firms receiving recent RP or EP allocations were Yahoo!, for a new data center in Lockport; ENrG, for expanding production capacity at the firm’s Buffalo facility that manufactures fuel cells and other clean energy systems; Precision Electro Minerals Co. (PEMCO), a Niagara Falls manufacturer of fused silica for solar-panel grade silicon; Sunworks Solar, for a new high-tech solar panel manufacturing facility; and Steel Development, for a new steel-recycling manufacturing facility. 

Niagara hydropower, which supports tens of thousands of jobs at approximately 120 companies on the Niagara Frontier, is provided at rates typically 75 percent less than market prices. The companies benefiting from the power have a total payroll of approximately $2 billion.


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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