October 27, 2008

Industry Growing Green Upstate

By: by Business Facilities


In the U.S., growth of the high-tech "green" industry is expected to skyrocket. According to a recent report by Management Information Services, an internationally recognized economic research and management consulting firm with expertise in economic forecasting and labor markets, this industry will create up to $4.5 trillion in revenue and 40 million new jobs in the U.S. by 2030.

Gov. David Paterson's $700-million Upstate Revitalization Fund is helping support green market development activities and job training projects in the region. Currently, nearly 1,800 firms and 65,000 jobs are focused on energy and environmental systems in Upstate, representing more than 11% of all private sector jobs. Green job growth in the region was 1.9% versus 1.4% in other sectors between 2003 and 2008.

In May 2008, Globe Specialty Metals, Inc., a leader in silicon manufacturing used to create solar panels, announced it was investing $60 million to reopen and expand its manufacturing facilities in Niagara Falls.

Globe received an economic development package from ESD and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) that will provide Globe with 40 megawatts of hydropower over five years. The hydropower used to produce solar grade silicon at Globe's facility in turn will be used to create zero-emission solar energy, a truly "green-to-green" energy industry. The project will create 500 new jobs and is expected to possibly attract hundreds more in the future.

As part of their agreement with the state, 25% of Globe's Upgraded Metallurgical Grade Silicon (UMG-Si) production from their new Niagara Falls facility will be used to attract new solar panel manufacturers to New York State, providing a foundation for New York to become a leader in the solar use and production industry.

Alan Kestenbaum Chairman and CEO of Globe, says: "This project will add needed capacity of silicon for solar grade silicon and will be a cornerstone for New York State to realize the goal of making New York a major center for production and research for renewable energy and in particular solar energy products."  

Because Globe is located in New York's "Empire Zone" economic development area, the company can receive up to $25 million in benefits for up to 10 years.

Further enriching Upstate's growing green industry is the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP), which was established in 2001. STEP is a 280-acre site in Malta, master-planned for 1.25 million square feet of office, lab, and light manufacturing facilities. The tech park is a joint effort of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the University at Albany, and the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation.

The tech park provides new businesses with the full spectrum of financial, technological, and business resources needed to develop the new cleaner-energy technologies of the future. It also offers the potential to attract more companies and create well-paying jobs in the region.

The region is also home to the Center for Advanced Technology, which supports university-industry collaborative research and technology transfer in commercial relevant technologies, as well as several green technology job training programs. Onandaga Community College has received a $700,000-grant to develop a "green collar" training program, and Morrisville State College has received a $2-million federal grant to develop a training center for liquid biofuels.