NYPA Extends Hydropower Allocations Linked to 600 Jobs at Two Firms in Western New York

Jack Murphy

June 29, 2004 


MARCY—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Trustees Tuesday approved contract extensions for low-cost hydropower from the Authority’s Niagara Power Project for two Western New York manufacturers that have renewed their commitments to the region through multimillion-dollar expansions.

The actions, at the Power Authority’s monthly board meeting here, assure that the 3M Company and Carleton Technologies, Inc., will continue to receive Niagara power allocations of 1,000 kilowatts (kw) and 700 kw, respectively, at facilities in Tonawanda and Orchard Park. Together, the two companies employ 600 people.

“The two contract extensions that we approved today attest to the close working partnership we’ve formed with businesses and industries in Western New York to help protect and create jobs, while supporting their competitive operations,” said Louis P. Ciminelli, NYPA chairman. “Governor George E. Pataki has long stressed the absolute importance of using low-cost Niagara hydropower to its greatest possible advantage, and the contract extensions with 3M and Carleton are in keeping with that priority.”

The Niagara project, along with a second large NYPA hydroelectric project on the St. Lawrence River, provide the lowest cost electricity in New York State and some of the least expensive in the United States.

The allocations to 3M and Carleton are drawn from a 250,000-kw block of power known as expansion power, reserved for businesses within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara project. A second block of Niagara power called replacement power, totaling 445,000 kw, is also assigned to Western New York businesses. Together, the two blocks of power support some 44,000 jobs on the Niagara Frontier.

3M’s Tonawanda facility—part of the company’s Home Products Division—is the largest manufacturer of cellulose sponges in the country. The company is currently undertaking a $32-million expansion of the facility, which, in addition to the tough and durable sponges, also manufactures and markets pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes, abrasives and specialty chemicals. It employs 393 people at the facility.

Carleton Technologies is a leader in the design and manufacturing of pneumatic and electromechanical components for the aerospace and defense industries. The company’s customers include the federal government, Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. It employs 200 people at the Orchard Park plant.

The NYPA trustees approved the contract extensions with 3M and Carleton preceding a midday event here to mark the completion of a pioneering transmission-control device called the convertible static compensator (CSC). The new equipment provides voltage support for increased power flow on the statewide power grid and makes possible, for the first time anywhere in the world, the instantaneous shifting of power from one transmission line to another in the same substation.