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NYPA President Kelley Hails Agreement with Alcoa

Stephen Shoenholz

February 8, 2008

MASSENA—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Roger B. Kelley said Thursday night that the recent agreement in principle between NYPA and Alcoa on the terms of a new power-supply contract means “we’re on our way to ensuring that Alcoa remains the backbone of this region’s economy and the foundation for its future growth.”

“This is a balanced agreement that promises benefits to Alcoa, to the Authority and, most important, to Massena and the North Country,” Kelley said at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s 76th annual dinner at the Quality Inn. 

He spoke on a night when the Chamber commemorated this year’s 50th anniversary of the start of operations at the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, NYPA’s first generating facility, on July 17, 1958.

“To be recognized by our North Country neighbors, in the place where the Power Authority got its start, is the finest tribute we could receive,” said Kelley, who noted NYPA’s “deep commitment to Massena and the North Country.”

He said the agreement in principle with Alcoa, reached last December, has special meaning to the Power Authority because “not only was St. Lawrence our first power plant, but Alcoa was our first customer.”

Under the proposed terms of a new contract, which would take effect in 2013 and extend for at least 30 years, the company would maintain a minimum of 900 local jobs, carry out a $600 million overhaul of its Massena East smelter and create a $10 million North Country Economic Development Fund.  The contract, calling for Alcoa to continue to receive 478 megawatts (mw) of St. Lawrence-FDR power, remains to be negotiated and will be subject to an approval process set out in state law.

Kelley said a prime objective for NYPA in negotiations leading to the agreement in principle was “to make sure that the low-cost hydropower’s immense potential as a means to create jobs and investment was fulfilled.”  He praised the role of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and members of his staff, Alcoa and local officials and community leaders in helping to conclude the agreement.

He said NYPA will work with the Spitzer administration and local economic development officials to ensure that the 12 mw of St. Lawrence-FDR power now allocated to GM Powertrain in Massena “is used to maximum advantage” after that plant’s scheduled shutdown this year.  The power is part of a block of Preservation Power reserved for North Country businesses under a 2005 state law.

Citing progress in another economic development program, Kelley said more than 430 jobs are linked to the Greater Massena Economic Development Fund, established by NYPA in the late 1980s and now worth more than $2.5 million.  He also noted that the Seaway Private Equity Corp., created with the promise of $10 million in NYPA funds, has invested in two companies—ZeroPoint Clean Tech in Potsdam and Curran Renewable Energy in Massena—and that two other investments have been approved.

Kelley said the Power Authority’s $281 million Life Extension and Modernization program at the St. Lawrence-FDR project, scheduled for completion in 2013, has passed the halfway mark and that the region continues to receive numerous benefits from NYPA under commitments related to issuance of the project’s new 50-year federal license in 2003.  These range from annual payments to communities and school districts in the project area to the transfer of almost 600 acres of surplus project land to municipalities and adjacent property owners, improvements to state and local parks and varied environmental initiatives.

“The relicensing, like so much else that we’ve accomplished here, was a testament to the dedication of local officials and concerned citizens, and to their willingness to balance competing interests and priorities,” Kelley said.

Comparing the task of building the power project to those now facing the community, Kelley said, “Tonight, in this 50th-anniversary year, our challenge is not to construct a massive power project, but to build a strong and thriving North Country economy.

“It is not to tame a mighty river, but to harness the churning forces of a global economy.  It is not to make a temporary home for an army of construction workers, but to create a permanent home for our children and grandchildren—one with the jobs and the quality of life that will enable them to stay and raise their own families here in Northern New York.”

He said NYPA “stands ready to join with you in achieving these vital goals, now and far into the future.”


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.

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