Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Western New York Greenhouse Owner Back on his Feet Thanks to New York Power Authority

One of the Zittel greenhouses.
Amos Zittel & Sons, a large Buffalo-area farm, has rebuilt two acres of greenhouse space destroyed in a severe snowstorm, using funds from the New York Power Authority to help support 30 jobs.

New York Power Authority provided $380,000 for the $2.5 million project from money authorized by the Western New York Power Proceeds Act. 

It allows for net earnings of unused power from the authority's Niagara Power Project to be sold into the wholesale electricity market in order to spur capital investments and job creation in Western New York.

“This is precisely the result that Governor Cuomo had in mind when he signed the Proceeds Act in 2012,” said power authority President an Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones.

“Proceeds funding allows for NYPA to be a more flexible economic development engine, turning power earmarked for the region into dollars that can be used in ways power alone cannot,” he said.

Amos Zittel & Sons, a fresh market vegetable producer with a significant greenhouse operation, has finished building state-of-the-art greenhouses that will allow the farm to be more competitive with its rooted liner and finished annual flower business. In addition, the farm plans to extend its vegetable growing season this fall by producing an organic vegetable crop.

Zittel had applied for the money following a crippling 2014 storm that destroyed two large greenhouses. The new project will facilitate the retention of 25 jobs and the creation of five new positions.

“The Power Authority’s support of our business enabled us to build back our greenhouse operation and make it more energy efficient than ever,” said co-owner Bill Zittel. “We want to thank NYPA for providing financial aid at such a critical time.”

Under the Proceeds Act, eligible applicants must be located within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara project and their proposed initiatives must underpin the growth of a business. 

Consideration is also given to how providing the money would be consistent with the strategies and priorities of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. 

Power authority trustees have approved about $32 million in power proceeds funding for 36 Western New York enterprises.

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