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Two firms plan to create 53 jobs

Two Buffalo-area companies plan to create 53 jobs in expansion moves that are being supported with allocations of cheap state hydropower, the New York Power Authority said Tuesday.

Invitrogen Corp. plans to add 36 jobs and retain 452 existing ones in a $5.5 million expansion at its Grand Island plant, the power authority said.

The authority's board on Tuesday approved 375 kilowatts of power for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company. The allocation comes in addition to Invitrogen's existing 400 kilowatt allocation, a power authority spokesman said.

American Axle & Manufacturing is to receive 650 kilowatts for creating 17 jobs and preserving 142 others at its Cheektowaga plant. The company, a maker of driveline components for cars and trucks, is undertaking an $8.6 million expansion of its plant and offices in Cheektowaga, the power authority said.

American Axle, based in Detroit, also has plants in Buffalo and the Town of Tonawanda. Company representatives were not immediately available to comment on Tuesday.

"They start getting the power as they add equipment and require more electricity," authority spokesman Michael Saltzman said.

The power from the state's Niagara Power Project in Lewiston costs an average 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, a fraction of market-rate electricity. Allocations totaling 695 megawatts, 29 percent of the plant's capacity, are linked to 43,000 jobs in the Buffalo-Niagara area, according to the authority.

A streamlined process for making Niagara allocations in 2004 has resulted in 2,500 new job commitments and $672 million in corporate investments in the region, authority chairman Joseph J. Seymour said in a statement.

Some local representatives are seeking to keep a greater share of profits from the plant within the region as the authority seeks to renew its federal license.

e-mail: fwilliams@buffnews.com

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