New hydropower awards announced from Niagara Power Project

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees has approved economic development awards to three companies that will create 79 new jobs and spur nearly $46 million in capital investments.

The NYPA board awarded two Erie County businesses with low-cost hydropower allocations — generated at NYPA’s Niagara Power Project hydroelectric facility in Lewiston — and one St. Lawrence County business with funding through the Northern New York Power Proceeds program.

LW1 Operator, a cannabis production company, was awarded 2,930 kW of low-cost hydroelectric power. LW1 plans to invest at least $24.2 million to develop a 75,000-square-foot cannabis production facility in Buffalo that will create 75 jobs.

NYPA’s board also approved a 400-kW low-cost hydropower allocation to Niagara Refining. The company manufactures tungsten raw materials, which are commonly used in alloys to create high-density items such as turbine blades, heat sinks and x-ray tubes. Niagara Refining is planning a multifaceted expansion at its Depew facility that will involve a capital investment of at least $8.3 million.

“The Power Authority’s economic development awards provide benefits that are important for the growth and success of New York businesses. The low-cost Niagara hydropower allocations to LW1 and Niagara Refining will create nearly 80 jobs in Western New York, building upon the tens of thousands of jobs directly supported by the Niagara Power Project,” said John R. Koelmel, NYPA chairman and Buffalo resident.

Low-cost Niagara hydropower is available for companies within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara Power Project or businesses in Chautauqua County.

The NYPA board also awarded $300,000 from the Northern New York Power Proceeds program to Woodcrest RNG in St. Lawrence County. Woodcrest will use the funds to construct a waste-to-energy management solution by collecting manure from three local dairy farms and transporting it through a pipeline to an adjacent farm where it will be processed into biogas using anaerobic digesters.

The project will generate renewable natural gas from dairy manure biogas, which can be used as a substitute for natural gas generated from fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions. The biogas will be upgraded and cleaned using a biogas processing facility to produce pipeline-quality renewable natural gas that will be sold into the natural gas marketplace to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The funding award will directly result in more than $13.4 million in capital investment.

The Northern New York Power Proceeds program is made possible through net earnings resulting from the sale of unused hydropower generated through NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. The Northern New York Power Proceeds Act, passed in December 2014, allows for NYPA to deposit the net earnings from the market sale of unutilized electricity into a fund, which can then be used to support economic development projects in St. Lawrence County.

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the U.S., operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80% of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. 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.