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Energy

Niagara County says no to wind, and utility job cuts were planned

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Niagara County's legislature says it's not buying an offshore wind farm.

The legislature in Niagara County joins the growing number of bodies voicing their opposition to wind farms on their stretch of the Great Lakes.  Thomas Prohaska reports in the Buffalo News:

Local opposition was led by the Youngstown Yacht Club, which holds races in the potential project area, and users of Old Fort Niagara. [legislate David] Godfrey said many e-mails came from 18th century military re-enactors. “The view was of the most concern,” he said, citing 316 e-mails, almost all opposing the project.

A spokesperson for the state power authority continued to refuse to disclose which areas are being considered for offshore wind projects.

National Grid says it was already planning to cut 1,200 jobs, and that the move isn't retaliation for not getting the rate hike it wanted.  Larry Rulison reports the Times Union that a memo passed out by the firm on Monday refutes that notion:

Within the past two years, National Grid hired a consultant to survey the communities it serves about its image. It appears that some of those results were used to fashion the restructuring plan in which the company will individually focus on each state where it does business. "As we move to the new structure, you'll notice that we'll be more focused on local needs and priorities, putting our resources to work to meet customer and community expectations," National Grid U.S. President Tom King said in an internal company newsletter called ONExtra. "We'll be a lean organization that makes good, swift decisions, with knowledgeable people empowered to do the right thing."

Power for Jobs, the state program that gives businesses a slice of cheap hydropower in exchange for job creation, would be replaced under the governor's budget proposal.  The new deal, according to David Roinson at the Buffalo News, would be "Recharge New York:"

Like last year’s proposal, Recharge New York would double the size of the economic-development program to 910 megawatts by combining the 455 megawatts now used by Power for Jobs with another 455 megawatts that now is used to cut residential electric bills across upstate by $2 to $4 a month. State and business officials, including the Business Council of New York State and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, have long argued that using the residential power for economic development would have a bigger impact on the state’s economy. To ease the sting on those residential customers, the New York Power Authority would provide residential users with an annual discount amounting to $100 million — the same they received in 2010 — through 2013.

A company once known for wood burning stoves is transitioning into solar panels, reports Rose Simone at The Record:

The solar venture began when Elmira Stove Works was approached by companies that were interested in leasing its roof to install a solar system. Solar businesses have popped up across the province since the Ontario Power Authority began offering 20-year contracts to sell power to the electrical grid under the feed-in-tariff program. Many of those businesses have focused on leasing roofs to set up solar systems under these contracts. “So we started looking into why they wanted to lease our roof,” says Hendrick. “I did some research and as I learned more about it, I realized this was a viable thing.” Instead of leasing its roof, Elmira Stove Works applied to the Ontario Power Authority, got a contract and did its own solar roof. The 135-kilowatt system will soon start pumping energy into the grid.

Terry Pegula, the natural gas tycoon who made his billions by selling to Royal Dutch Shell, has now set his sites on the Buffalo Sabres.  The team transitions from one billionaire (Tom Golisano, of Rochester's Paychex) to another - if the league approves the deal.  If that happens, Michael Buteau of Bloomberg reports that it'll be the second time in four months that a "natural gas magnate" has picked up a major sports team.

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