Is anyone else excited about this?

31 Aug

Each time I read a story about this project, it seems to be more and more likely to actually happen.

A planned alternative fuels plant along the Buffalo River stands to benefit from an ethanol tax credit plan proposed Wednesday by Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Schumer, D-N.Y., used the planned RiverWright Energy plant site, at the foot of Childs Street in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, as the backdrop to unveil his proposed Ethanol Stimulus Act of 2006.

“This is a win-win-win for Western New York and Buffalo,” Schumer said, as he introduced a plan to provide tax breaks and accelerated equipment depreciation schedules for new ethanol plants located in areas of the country where ethanol is scarce.

About two weeks ago, I went on a boat ride down the Buffalo River and got a close up view of the grain elevators. I never really appreciated their true majesty as I usually see them in the distance from the I-190. I moved into the camp that they were worth saving as long as we could find a reuse for them as I’m not a fan of saving them for posterity with no real use.

The proposed ethanol plant is just such a use and I’m psyched that the project is privately funded and scheduled for completion in 2007. The design company that was brought on to retrofit the existing grain elevator into an ethanol production plant has demonstrated success with previous projects and is evidently well regarded in the industry.

Take a look at the spinoff employment and business that the Buffalo Ethanol plant will create:

Services required: Surveying, Electrical contractors, Plumbing contractors, Mechanical contractors, Welding contractors, Asphalting services, Sitework contractors, Rental of heavy-duty equipment, Control contractors, Grain Handling, Tank Erection, Steel Erection and Fabrication

Commodities required: Various construction materials (e.g. painting materials, mason tools, sand, gravel, ready mix concrete, cement, asphalt, concrete blocks), Electrical supplies, Carpentry and plumbing materials, Equipment & accessories of information technology, Electrical tools & accessories, Various office & accommodation furniture, Cleaning supplies, Supplies for IT equipment, Fuel supply, Safety supplies, Mechanical equipment and supplies, Pumps, valves and seals, Centrifuges, Compressors, Large and small tanks, Boilers, Condensers, Chillers, coolers and heaters, and Chemical supplies

Real spinoff development, real jobs, real entrepreneurial opportunities, and real progress.

Sounds good to me.

7 Responses to “Is anyone else excited about this?”

  1. eac August 31, 2006 at 9:28 pm #

    your fellow blogger, one Judy Einach, doesn’t seem all that convinced, and I have to generally agree with her points on this one. I love the ‘vators, that’s not it. It’s that

    1) Ethanol requires more energy than it yields by a wide margin, and using subsidised corn as input is nothing like, for example, sugar (a la Brazil) and

    2) How jacked would it be if there were a major accident down there? Bad, I’m thinking.

    Though as a long-route to tearing them down, maybe we’re on to something after all. 😉

  2. politics64 September 1, 2006 at 6:17 am #

    I have this posted on my website, The NY and LI Progressive Political Post. It is long overdue that economic attention is paid to Western NY State. It is even more exciting that it involves and renewable and sustainable energy source like ethonal. My wife, Brother and Sister-in-law are driving from LI to Niagra Falls the 7th and 8th of September. I will be on the lookout for the grain elevators you report on. Cudos to Schumer for showing some upstate love as well! Please visit my website at

  3. Derek J. Punaro September 1, 2006 at 7:50 am #

    Ethanol will not lead us to energy independence as it has in Brazil, but as an additive and flex fuel option it will likely be around for awhile. This project could be a win for many reasons – new, progressive manufacturing in Buffalo, reuse of existing unique buildings, and a boost to the local agricultural industry. What’s not to like?

  4. BuffaloGeek September 1, 2006 at 8:38 am #

    eac, I’m still learning about the ethanol business a little bit at a time. I’m not sold on ethanol as the long term answer to our fuel issues nor am I buying into the marketing pablum that states we’re helping out the “American Farmer” by relying on grain. We’re helping out ADM and the huge corporate agriculture companies.

    As with any industrial business, there is a risk of accidents and environmental abuse. However, I think we’re going in the right direction. Hopefully, we find a way to sensitively reuse these buildings and keep the populace safe from industrial runoff.

  5. Mike In WNY September 1, 2006 at 9:48 pm #

    I have grave concerns about the economic viability of the project. Not only is ethanol very energy intensive to produce it also yields far less energy per gallon than gasoline. The State and Federal governments are jumping in with significant incentives, further hiding the true cost of production while putting a further burden on our tax bills. Corn, itself , is kept at an artificially high market price with agricultural subsidies. The cost of ethanol is being underwritten by the government at every stage beginning with the construction of the plants right through the actual sale at the pumps.

  6. Demaris September 5, 2006 at 9:25 am #

    Not only is ethanol an energy form that would probably not be cost effective without all those subsidies, but it damages cars designed to run on ordinary gas. That seems to not be a consideration, and a choice of gas is not offered. Last decade it was MBTE whether we wanted it or not. We were forced to buy it at a premium, it got into groundwater and probably the air we breath. If a private entity instead of the government had been responsible for this kind of pollution, they would face ruinous economic and legal punishment. Now, after years of those lovely ADM commercials every Sunday morning, and no doubt other lobbying effort,
    it is ethanol (ADM benefits greatly, and its stock has skyrocketed).

    Meanwhile, basic efforts to use domestically created energy (or to make better use of those great old industrial buildings that have been abandoned) run into constant insurmountable roadblocks from the government.

    Example: Planning and Zoning making it prohibitively difficult to cut and sell firewood, even on industrially zoned property.

    Example: P&Z regulations together with a mortgage financing system that is available only for the most conventional homes, making innovative reuse too difficult for almost everyone.


  1. Fed-Up in Buffalo - A blog about Buffalo, New York State, Erie County » Toasting - September 1, 2006

    […] Is anyone else excited about this? […]

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