A high-tech British company has established its first U.S. assembly plant in the CrossPoint Business Park in Amherst.
The company, RGN Assembly, makes an energy-storage system using rechargeable fuel cells. The overseas expansion brings 20 to 30 new jobs to the area at a time when many companies are laying off workers.
The effort to lure this company to the area began six months ago under the code name "Project Britain."
The British parent of RGN Assembly, Regenesys Technologies, contacted a London-based employee of the Empire State Development Corp.
Regenesys Technologies had recently bought Electrosynthesis Co. in Lancaster, and the British company was interested in the Buffalo Niagara area as the location for its first American facility.
However, it was far from a done deal, said Christina Orsi, director of business development for Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a $27 million regional marketing initiative that works with Empire Development Corp to attract business investments.
The key managers were also considering spots in some Southern states, she said. The BNE promoted the area's low-cost housing and excellent suburban schools, and even rounded up some British ex-patriots to talk to the managers about living in the Buffalo Niagara area, Orsi said.
In September, RGN Assembly moved into 22,000 square feet of space at 405 CrossPoint Parkway built by Uniland Development Co..
"It shows that New York is not only a national leader but a world leader," said Michael Marr, spokesman in Albany for the Empire State Development Corp., which gave the company a $100,000 grant for rent payments.
RGN Assembly has shied away from any publicity, said those who worked closely with the business, and company spokesman Neil Sweeney did not return calls seeking comment.
RGN Assembly's Web site, www.regenesys.com, says that its energy-storage devices can work with conventional power plants to store electricity and release it when needed.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to install a 120 megawatt facility in Mississippi to reinforce the power system in an area of weak distribution, according to the company's Web site.
The company is also developing a bulk energy storage technology for use on submarines and naval vessels. The United Kingdom is testing one of the storage devices on one of its ships.