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Two North Tonawanda manufacturers getting low cost power

Confer Plastics, a North Tonawanda manufacturer of swimming pools, kayaks and other molded plastic products, is getting 400 kilowatts of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority to support a $2.6 million expansion project that is expected to create 24 jobs.

The low-cost power approved Tuesday is part of an incentive package to support Confer’s plans to purchase a new blow molding machine capable of producing up to 40,000 boats annually that could help it meet growing customer demand for larger kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

Confer currently has 180 employees. The new jobs are forecast to pay $29,500 a year.

In addition to the latest allocation approved by the Power Authority board of trustees, Confer also receives 300 kilowatts of replacement power through the agency, along with 420 kilowatts of power through the state’s Recharge NY program.

RockTenn, another North Tonawanda company that makes container board packaging, will receive 300 kilowatts of reduced-cost electricity for the company’s $7.5 million project to increase its capacity through the replacement of outdated equipment. The project is expected to create nine new jobs, paying an average of nearly $65,000 a year, at its North Tonawanda facility, which currently employs 119 people, the Power Authority said.

Low-cost Niagara hydropower is reserved for companies within a 30-mile radius of the Niagara hydroelectric power plant in Lewiston or businesses in Chautauqua County. The power currently is priced 30 percent below the cost of wholesale electricity in the Buffalo Niagara region.

The NYPA trustees also approved four other projects that had been recommended to receive funding earlier this month by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board:

• Tulip Molded Plastics was awarded $1 million for its $10.3 million project to move to a new 70,000-square-foot facility next to its current factory in Niagara Falls.

• The Martin House Restoration Corp. received $700,000 to help complete the final phase of the Darwin Martin House restoration.

• D’Youville College was granted $400,000 to convert the vacant Gateway-Longview building in Buffalo into a new arts, sciences and education complex.

• Amos Zittel & Sons was awarded $380,000 to help the Eden flower and vegetable grower rebuild two acres of greenhouses that were destroyed during the November 2014 snowstorm.