The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Board has approved over $3.5 million in economic development incentives for Electrovaya.
Electrovaya Chief Financial Officer John Gibson said the company is going to retrofit the former Heidenhain facility in the Mason Industrial Park to be a gigawatt factory, “That will produce lithium batteries for energy storage, electric buses, and electric forklifts. This is going to generate about 150 jobs for the first phase, which will be 300 megawatt hours, up to 250 plus jobs for the gigawatt phase.”
Gibson said the initial equipment purchase is being funded through a roughly $34 million loan. He said Empire State Development has also provided up to $4 million through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit program and $2.5 million in Regional Council Capital Funding.
The IDA Board approved a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) equal to $572,00 in subsidies, in addition to mortgage recording tax subsidies of $62,000; and $2.4 million sales tax abatement.
The initial cost for the facility has been placed at approximately $75 million.
Gibson said a Plant Manager will start September 1st which will then be followed by the build-out of the operations, which he says will take 15 to 18 months.
The IDA Board also approved $3.3 million in tax incentives for a 10 megawatt solar project in the town of Busti.
Busti Solar CEO Dennis Ryan said the company was approved for 10 megawatts and will be breaking it into two megawatt projects on the same land.
He said the company will be doing a community benefit donation to the town of Busti, “And that amount is based on the megawatt size. It’s about 20, 20 to 30,000 a year as it goes through the payment schedule and increases. It brings about $750,000 to the town over the term of our relationship.”
Ryan said they’re working with the town to have the funds go toward being used as the local match required when the town is applying for grants.
The IDA Board approved a PILOT agreement for $1.7 million in property tax subsidies, a mortgage tax recording subsidy of $220,000, and $1.4 million in sales tax abatement.
The solar project is expected to create 37 full-time construction jobs with half a full-time job contracted for maintenance after construction is completed.
The IDA board also approved agreements with C&S Engineers Inc. and Orion Environmental Solutions to establish and implement a Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.
IDA CEO Mark Geise said the IDA had received a $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to establish the fund to help put brownfields back into productive use, “It’s really the idea of creating a fund where we can help developers with those initial costs of doing the assessments and really sort of set the table for them to pull the trigger on utilizing these brownfield sites.”
Geise said Niagara County has had a very active Brownfield program with a revolving loan fund and had a grant program as well.
Economic Development Coordinator Nate Aldrich said the four-year program started in October 2022, “$600,000 is what we have available for loans and sub-grants for brownfield clean-up. That doesn’t go very far, but our rationale is if over the next three years we could do half of that in loan funding and half of that in grant funding, get our feet wet, we’ll have the program established. And as long as we’re showing success, EPA has a history of doubling down and reinvesting in those funds as Mark explained what is happening Niagara County.”
Aldrich said the IDA sees the fund as another tool to help get some projects done.