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Three Niagara Falls Manufacturers Receive Low-Cost Niagara Hydropower Allocations for 139 New Jobs and Nearly $20 Million in Capital Investment

Michael Saltzman

May 20, 2008


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced that three Niagara Falls manufacturers whose products and services include body armor for the military, crystals for jewelry and heat treatment of materials for advanced car batteries will receive low-cost hydropower from NYPA's Niagara Power Project in return for 139 new jobs and a combined capital investment of nearly $20 million.

The NYPA Trustees today approved allocations totaling 6,200 kilowatts (kw) to Saint Gobain–Advanced Ceramics, Ceres Crystal Industries and Ashland Advanced Materials, a new company. The companies are the latest of nearly 140 Western New York employers to benefit from Niagara hydropower, which is among the least cost electricity in the country.

“It is critical that we maximize the considerable cost benefits of hydropower to fortify industries and spur additional jobs in Western New York, and these allocations demonstrate my Administration’s commitment to do just that,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “Low-cost Niagara hydropower is fundamental to the region’s economy, providing a significant competitive advantage to a wide range of businesses. The latest allocations will strengthen Western New York’s manufacturing base and help bring about job growth and investments.”

"The Niagara project is a critical component of Western New York’s economy, with more than 45,000 jobs directly linked to its low-cost power, or about 70 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area,” said Roger B. Kelley, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “These latest power allocations are an example of our continuing efforts to support Governor Paterson’s upstate economic development agenda.”

The Western New York Advisory Group (WNAG), consisting of the Power Authority, National Grid, Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC), the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and the Niagara County Center for Economic Development, supported the latest allocations. The WNAG was established in 2003 to help identify companies for available Niagara power.

Saint-Gobain Ceramics will receive an allocation of 700 kw in support of an expansion that will lead to the addition of 14 new jobs to a current work force of 178. The company, whose ceramic products include armor materials for protecting U.S. soldiers, has received previous Niagara allocations for which it is planning to add 21 other jobs. 

Saint-Gobain is constructing an additional building at 23 Acheson Drive, with plans for a new furnace and other additional equipment. The latest allocation of low-cost hydropower is key to the company’s designating the Niagara Falls operation for expanded production.  

Ceres Crystal Industries will receive an allocation of 2,000 kw for an expansion that will double its Niagara Falls workforce at 2250 Liberty Drive from 50 to 100. The company, which manufactures zirconia crystal for the gem-cutting industry, is adding 21,000 square feet of space to accommodate a new product line that will require the purchase of three new furnaces and additional material-handling equipment. 

Ashland Advanced Materials, which will operate out of facilities vacated in 2001 by SGL Carbon at 6200 Niagara Falls Boulevard, will receive an allocation of 3,500 kw. The py’s plans call for the creation of 75 jobs and investment of $8.5 million for manufacturing graphite products and providing high-temperature, heat-treating services.

Ashland’s products and services will support the manufacture of lithium ion batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles, cell phones and laptop computers; and fuel cells and photovoltaic solar cells for clean, renewable energy.

The company is also working with ESDC and the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for obtaining various tax credits and other incentives.

The allocations to Saint Gobain, Ceres and Ashland will come from one of two blocks of Niagara industrial power known as Expansion Power. The other is called Replacement Power, and together the two blocks account for about one-third of the hydroelectric project’s firm generating output.

The Niagara project is New York State’s single largest source of electricity, providing about 10 percent of the state’s power.

 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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