Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 26, 2013

Local company gets power

STAFF REPORTS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A Lockport-based company was one of the recipients of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority.

The allocations to the five companies, approved Friday by the NYPA Board of Trustees, total nearly 13 megawatts of power from NYPA’s Niagara Power Project. In addition to Yahoo, the firms are SiGNa Chemistry, for a potential new manufacturing facility in Wheatfield, Aurubis Buffalo in Buffalo, International Imaging Materials in Amherst and RubberForm Recycled Products in Lockport.

The five allocations will lead to the creation of 215 jobs and $193 million in investment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week. A big portion of that involves the recently announced expansion of the Yahoo facility in the Town of Lockport.

“Low-cost hydropower is one of the most effective economic development tools that we have to create jobs in New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The allocations approved today to five companies in Western New York will help to create over 200 new jobs and support major capital expansion projects. These are smart investments in the region’s economy.”

“The newest power allocations, individually and collectively, signal exciting developments for Western New York’s economy and the Power Authority is pleased to be playing a part in helping these companies realize their expansion goals,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer.

The low-cost hydropower to the five companies will be provided under seven-year contracts, with the allocations drawn from two blocks of Niagara electricity known as expansion power and replacement power. In addition to new permanent jobs, the capital investments by the companies are expected to support hundreds of construction jobs.

Rubberform Recycled Products, a manufacturer of recycled rubber products for traffic safety, home improvement, shipping and marine products industries, will receive a Niagara hydropower allocation of 200 killowatts and a $250,000 Environmental Investment Program grant from Empire State Development in support of a $500,000 expansion that includes a new recycled-material production line. The company has committed to add 12 new jobs at its Lockport facility, which currently has a workforce of 15 employees.

Yahoo will receive a 7.2 megawatt allocation for a customer call center that will create a minimum of 100 jobs. The web company also plans to expand its state-of-the-art Lockport data center and add 15 new positions to the facility’s current workforce.

In addition to hydropower, Yahoo will be provided by ESD up to $2 million in Excelsior tax credits over 10 years as further incentive for its expansion plans.

Yahoo will contribute $500,000 per year to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a not-for-profit organization that administers charitable funds for the benefit of Western New York. The funding will be used to advance specific priority economic development strategies identified by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

SiGNa Chemistry, which has a growing portfolio of “green” chemical products used by oil-recovery and fuel-cell industries, will receive 2.5-megawatts of Niagara power to establish a potential new manufacturing facility in Wheatfield that will initially lead to 50 new jobs. The number of jobs could double over time as demand for its industrial powder materials grow. By year’s end, SiGNa expects to launch the new manufacturing facility in a 15,000-square-foot space that could be expanded for increased production.

Aurubis Buffalo will receive a 2.8-megawatt allocation to boost production at the company’s copper and brass rolling mill. The low-cost power would support the purchase of a new $9.5 million customized furnace and a $2.4 million investment to revive an idled rolling mill. The planned improvements at the Buffalo facility would add 35 new jobs to an existing workforce of 675 employees. Aurubis is also Empire Zone certified to receive benefits.

International Imaging Materials, an international manufacturer of thermal transfer ribbons, barcode ribbons, direct thermal films and fluid inks for the printing industry, will receive an allocation of 200-kilowatts of hydropower to support a planned $2 million capital investment for an equipment expansion at the company’s Amherst facility. The company will add three new jobs to its Amherst workforce of 355. In addition, the company will receive $640,000 in Excelsior tax credits from ESD.