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New Under The Sun

Ah, progress.

The mainstream economic development agencies are waking up to the potential of the green
economy. Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has launched a campaign to attract solar manufacturers to the region, piggy-backing on plans by Globe Metals to open a plant in Niagara Falls next year to produce high-grade silicon, the key material for the panels.

Solar_panelGlobe, as a part of its subsidy deal with the state, will set aside 25 percent of the silicon it produces for resale, at a 15 percent discount, to companies operating in New York State. The arrangement gives Western New York an opportunity to create a cluster of solar-power industries.

BNE plans to have a similar effort in place for wind by Labor Day.

Announcement of the Globe deal prompted BNE to start researching the potential to lure solar industry here. It has targeted about 70 companies from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

"We're hopeful we can generate enough interest to get one or two of those folks to come pay us a visit," said Paul Pfeiffer, BNE's director of investor and public relations.

Just a thought: How about working to develop home-grown solar panel manufacturers? A locally owned anything has obvious advantages.

BNE is working with the Green Gold Development Corp. and the Wind Action Group, which is a really good development. Up to this point, the mainstream economic development agencies had not been working closely with the local green community.

"It seems like a good marriage," Pfieffer said. "There is no need to reinvent the wheel where they have their knowledge base."

Bill Nowak, a leading green working with the BNE, said economic development agencies "seem to be getting it."

He sees a big upside in renewal energy for the regional economy.

"The hydro plant and Globe plant to the north and Steelwinds to the south leaves us incredibly well position to be a renewable energy center in North America," he said.


Economic Development | Green
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