Economy on mend, NYPA says

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MASSENA — Although the north country wasn’t the recipient of low-cost hydropower allocations this month, New York Power Authority Senior Vice President of Clean Energy Solutions Keith Hayes says three allocations in Western New York indicate the economy is on the rebound.

“We’ve got good activity up in Western New York with three applicants who are expanding their operations. We see some positive economic development activity in Western New York, and we have about 21 pending ReCharge NY applications that we’re evaluating at this time,” he told the authority’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Through the ReCharge NY program, qualifying businesses and nonprofits statewide can potentially lower their energy costs by using specially allocated NYPA power which is set aside by the state government and the NYPA board for economic support. Companies receiving allocated power have made commitments such as remaining in the state, keeping or growing employment, expanding operations and/or making significant local investments in their businesses.

Americold Real Estate L.P., which is based in Georgia and owns and operates 238 temperature-controlled warehouses across the globe for the storage of perishable goods, was awarded 830 kilowatts of hydropower to establish a new cold storage facility in Dunkirk that will create 60 jobs. Construction on the more than $40 million facility is slated to begin later this year.

SGS Recovery LLC in Niagara Falls, a sustainable waste management and recycling company, was awarded a 750-kilowatt hydropower allocation for its planned lease of a new 30,000-square-foot building in Niagara Falls for the conversion of recycled materials into process engineered fuel, which is used as a substitute for fossil and petroleum-based fuels in the cement industry. The nearly $5 million project, slated to begin later this year, will result in the addition of 12 new positions.

Sumitomo Rubber USA LLC in Tonawanda, a manufacturer of automotive tires for trucks, cars, buses and motorcycles, was awarded 2,000 kilowatts of hydropower for a significant planned expansion to double its daily tire production. The $122 million expansion, scheduled to start later this year, was announced in March by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and will create 30 jobs.

Sumitomo is a longtime NYPA power customer and already receives more than 13,500 kilowatts of low-cost hydropower in support of its more than 1,300 jobs at the Tonawanda facility. Empire State Development is also supporting the expansion with $3.3 million through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in exchange for the job creation commitments.

Mr. Hayes said Sumitomo established operations in 1920 when they broke ground, “and actually, in 1923 I believe they were manufacturing post-World War I.”

Those businesses were signs of an economic upturn, he said. All together, the allocations will support the creation of 102 jobs across Western New York and spur $145 million in private capital investments.

“I think the economy is moving in the right direction. Businesses are still engaged in seeking more benefits from our programs,” Mr. Hayes said.

“Today’s NYPA board action to award three companies with hydropower allocations will help create more than 100 jobs in Western New York. The Power Authority is committed to help economic recovery in the region as we press forward to rebound smartly and safely from the COVID-19 pandemic,” NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said.

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