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NYPA allocates cheap power to Potsdam Paper; Corning starts hiring for expansion

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CANTON — On the same day the north country received the good news about the creation of 40 new jobs under Corning Canton Plant’s $21 million expansion project, it received another shot in the arm when the New York Power Authority approved another set of power allocations to two St. Lawrence County manufacturers as part Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ReCharge NY program.

The low-cost power is expected to leverage an estimated $14.3 million in capital investments and support 79 jobs, 12 of which are going to be created.

“I think any time we see power allocation in the county is a good thing and to have three different areas with Corning in the Canton area, Potsdam Paper and Riverside Iron in Gouverneur is crucial. These are also three different areas that are receiving this allocation. It is very beneficial to their operations and in turn a good thing for the county,” St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly said.

Potsdam Specialty Paper, 547 Sissonville Rd., and Riverside Iron, 26 Water St., Gouverneur, will both receive power allocations under Recharge NY, according to a news release from NYPA Tuesday.

Potsdam Specialty Paper will receive 2,116 kilowatts for its commitment to retain its 67 jobs and invest $14 million dollars into its facility over the next five years.

The company manufactures specialty paper that is used in the construction, automotive, home decor and medical industries.

“This power allocation will allow our company to continue its operations in Potsdam, securing our talented workforce and reinforcing our position as a pillar of the local economy for years to come,” Douglass H. Drumm, operations manager, Potsdam Specialty Paper, said in the news release.

Riverside Iron will receive 46 kilowatts to assist in reopening its steel fabrication facility, creating 12 jobs and a $350,000 capital investment.

“I am thankful to NYPA and the St. Lawrence County IDA for their efforts to help ensure the success of Riverside Iron’s fabrication facility reopening in Gouverneur,” Eric Tessmer, president of Riverside Iron, said in the news release. “I look forward to providing long-term local job opportunities and re-establishing Riverside as a source of quality miscellaneous metal fabrications.

The manufacturer of miscellaneous and ornamental steel reopened earlier this month after closing in 2012. The firm was recently approved for $200,000 in financing from the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency through loan funds supported by NYPA capital.

“As Riverside Iron looks to reopen its facility, obviously having the lower electric rates will lower his costs and enable them to be more competitive as the restart operations,” Mr. Kelly said.

Recharge NY application criteria include addition to jobs, capital investments, the significance of the cost of electricity to the overall cost of doing business, the applicant’s risk of closure or curtailing operations, the significance of the applicant’s facility to the local economy, and its commitment to energy efficiency.

“It is of principle importance for economic development efforts to not only create new jobs, but also ensure the retention of existing jobs,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer in a news release. “The Governor’s ReCharge NY program has been a great success thus far in the north country and NYPA will continue to work with business and not-for-profit organizations in the region to keep up this significant momentum.”

Recharge NY offers up to seven-year power contracts. Half of the power under the program—455 MW—is from NYPA’s Niagara and St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt hydroelectric power plants, which provide some of the lowest-cost electricity in the state. The remaining 455 MW is economic power secured by NYPA from wholesale market sources, according to the news release.

NYPA, under state law, also provides allocations of low-cost hydropower to Northern New York businesses from the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project as part of the Power Authority’s Preservation Power program. The power is provided at a price that is currently 40 percent less than wholesale market electricity in the region. Preservation Power allocations currently support hundreds of jobs in St. Lawrence County.

“As a lifelong resident of the north country, I am pleased to see the great success of the Governor’s ReCharge NY program in our region,” Eugene L. Nicandri, a NYPA trustee, said in the release. “These low-cost power allocations will provide Potsdam Specialty Paper and Riverside Iron greater financial flexibility for their competitive operations.”

Hiring has already started at Corning’s Canton plant after Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday that a $21 million expansion project will create 40 permanent jobs with the help of a low-cost power allocation from the New York Power Authority.

The Canton plant, which produces specialized glass products for the telecommunications industry, the U.S. Department of Defense and the aerospace industry, plans to add 23,500 square feet to increase production of high-fused silica glass used by the semiconductor industry. A 7,200 square foot warehouse is also in the works.

The firm was allocated 2.1 megawatts of power by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Tuesday in support of its expansion efforts.

“Thanks to efforts like the state’s hydropower incentives, more companies are choosing to expand right here in the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said in a news release issued by NYPA Tuesday. “NYPA’s low-cost energy allocations provide businesses like Corning with the support they need to grow their operations in New York, and the results are immediately felt by communities like Canton. This is yet another example of how Upstate New York is on the move.”

“It is anticipated that this expansion could lead to 40 permanent jobs, some of which are already in place,” Corning spokesman Joseph Dunning said. “They will come in the form of factory jobs and those with a mix of skill sets - from engineers to office workers.”

Mr. Dunning said 70 construction jobs are also created in during the expansion.

“It’s important for us to point out that overall economic development and assistance and incentives help make New York an attractive place for businesses to grow, and that was taken into consideration when we decided to expand the Canton facility,” Mr. Dunning said. “We are grateful to local and state officials particularly Gov. Andrew Cuomo who supports business development in New York.”

Work on the expansion project began in June, and officials hope to have it completed in the fall, Mr. Dunning said Tuesday.

NYPA allocated 2.1 megawatts to the plant at its board of trustees meeting Tuesday.

The low-cost power will be provided under a seven-year contract and is drawn from a block of St. Lawrence-FDR project electricity known as Preservation Power.

Corning’s Canton facility receives a 2.2 megawatt allocation of ReCharge NY power, which was approved by the NYPA trustees in April 2012 in exchange for the firm’s commitment to retain its nearly 200 jobs.

The agreement still faces a public hearing and the governor’s approval. On Tuesday, state and local officials touted the state’s commitment to help a struggling Northern New York.

“I’m pleased that Corning has committed to growing its St. Lawrence County operations. Its $21 million capital improvement will positively impact our local construction-related businesses, and its commitment to create 40 additional jobs will provide a new economic benefit to those workers, their families and the Canton region,” Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, said in a news release.

“It is fantastic that such a well-established business in the North Country is primed to expand and that preservation power is being utilized to create much needed jobs,” Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, said in a news release. “Corning’s cutting edge technology, its talented work force and partnership with the state and NYPA, is a winning combination. I applaud the hard work of Corning and its decision to expand in the north country and appreciate the work done to ensure that it has the resources it needs to be successful.”

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