MASSENA — Northline Utilities of AuSable Forks won a $2.13 million contract to relocate an electrical-transmission line to Alcoa property as part of a $600 million plant upgrade.
The New York Power Authority is contracting with the company to install a 115-kilovolt substation at the Alcoa East site in Massena to power a new aluminum-making potline and other equipment.
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The new site will replace a 50-year-old powerhouse and move mile-long sections of three existing 115-kilovolt lines to another area.
“We’ve been working hard on this project for a number of months, and it feels good that it’s finally ready,” President Jamie Atkins told the Press-Republican.
“Northline is excited to be a part of this important project and glad NYPA has the confidence in our firm.
“And we are equally proud to be supporting the initial phases of Alcoa’s expansion initiatives,” he said. “Alcoa is also an important customer and key industry to our area.”
Work begins June 1 and is expected to finish by November.
Northline will provide the materials, installation and testing for the transmission line and use 12 to 16 of its employees on the project, said Project Manager Dave Walker.
New people will also be hired, and area subcontractors will be awarded some of the work, he said.
In announcing the project Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “this transmission-line relocation is critical to Alcoa’s much-anticipated modernization of the Massena East smelter and reflects the unwavering support of the state of New York to secure the long-term future of aluminum production in the North Country.
“There may be no more important development for the region’s economy than the overhaul and upgrade of the Massena East smelter, for which work will get under way this summer.”
NYPA will spend $3.7 million on the project, and under an agreement reached in 2011, Alcoa will reimburse the power company for engineering, procurement and construction costs.
Gil C. Quiniones, the authority’s president and chief executive officer, said the support of Alcoa’s modernization “goes well beyond the low-cost St. Lawrence-FDR hydropower assigned to the company’s Massena facilities.
“Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, we continue to work closely with Alcoa to make the project a reality to protect hundreds of jobs and spur capital investments of hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Alcoa announced in March it would invest at least $600 million to modernize its Massena plant and retain at least 900 jobs at its smelters in exchange for 478 megawatts of low-cost hydropower from NYPA.
Alcoa is also investing $10 million toward a North Country Economic Development Fund as part of the 30-year power agreement with NYPA. That pact begins Jan. 1, 2014, and includes a 10-year option to extend service beyond 2045.
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