Niagara Gazette

November 14, 2013

Idle Falls plant is sold|Sterling Energy finalizes purchase of Niagara Generations facility on Frontier Avenue

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — An idle Niagara Falls multi-fuel plant is now officially under new ownership.

Sterling Energy Group, Inc. announced Thursday that it is completed the purchase of the Niagara Generation plant on Frontier Avenue. 

The company, located in Gary, Ind., had been in negotiations to purchase the facility from its previous owner, U.S. Renewables Group of Santa Monica, Calif. In a joint release, both companies confirmed that the transaction has been completed for an undisclosed sum. 

"We're delighted to have completed the purchase of Niagara Generation, LLC and to have preserved the jobs in New York, while supplying the area with green energy," said William Harrington, President & CEO of Sterling Energy Group, Inc., in the release.

The power generating facility served as a coal-fired plant in the 1990s. In 2007, USRG converted the facility to burn wood and tire-derived fuel. In the release, Sterling indicated that, following a scheduled deferred maintenance outage, the company will "predominantly fuel the plant with wood fuel, augmented by a minor amount of coal for fluidized bed solids and flame stabilization."

Earlier this year, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency granted a request from Sterling officials to assume an existing 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement granted to the previous owners as part of its $2 million plan to retrofit and reopen the facility. In addition, the company received a new, 15-year PILOT and sales tax exemptions as part of a plan to build a new warehouse to store wood materials to be burned at the plant as well as a compressed natural gas fueling station. Both facilities will be built on vacant land located at 6000 and 6100 Niagara Falls Blvd.

Once fully operational, Sterling Energy estimates the plant will be capable of generating at least 40 megawatts of power per hour for sale back to the power grid. Once completed, Sterling expects to have a total of 35 full-time employees on site, with two more full-time workers to be hired at the warehouse location.

According to the press release, Sterling Energy Group, Inc. is a privately held energy company and owns and operates a pipeline, an oil and natural gas field. It will begin independently producing electricity in 2014 as an "exempt wholesale generator."  

Big red number $2M Amount Sterling will spend to retrofit and reopen facility