State spending $6M on Orleans ethanol plant
(May 8, 2006) — SHELBY — New York will spend nearly $6 million to help a company open what is billed as the first state-of-the-art dry mill ethanol plant in the state.
Western New York Energy, LLC, plans to spend $87.4 million to build on 144 acres in the town of Shelby, Orleans County. Construction is expected to begin in June and be completed by early 2008. The plant will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol a year and create 58 jobs, officials said
Gov. Pataki, speaking at an appearance at Shelby Town Hall, said the plant will help make New York a leader in alternative energy production and help wean the country from dependence on foreign oil.
"It is just, in my view, tragic that in the 21st century we still have that dependency," Pataki said.
Pataki also said as many as 500 jobs would be created in ancillary industries such as transportation and agriculture. The plant will use 20 million bushels of corn a year, with 6 million of those expected to come from New York state.
The state support includes $3.1 million to help rail and other transportation access at the site, $435 thousand in the form of a grant, and Western New York Energy also will be eligible for up to $2.5 million in renewable energy production tax credits. The plant site also is in a tax saving Empire Zone.
The Shelby plant is one of at least three ethanol projects being planned around central and western New York. A coalition of corn growers plans a 50 million-gallon-a-year plant in Seneca County. The coalition is currently trying to decide whether to place the plant in Seneca Falls or at the old Seneca Army Depot in Romulus.
Northeast Biofuels has proposed a 100 million-gallon-a-year plant in Fulton, Oswego County.
As the price of gasoline continues to rise, ethanol has become a more economically attractive option for producers. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have launched ambitious campaigns to market ethanol-powered vehicles, which have helped public awareness of the products.
New York's strong heritage in agriculture, chemistry and engineering also make it an attractive place to build such plants, experts say.
Distillers' grains and carbon dioxide, two byproducts of ethanol production, also are in high demand.
Pataki has proposed bringing alternative fuels to New York State Thruway rest stops and cutting taxes to make the fuel drastically cheaper than gasoline.