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National Grid approves $500K grant for Intergrow expansion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 February 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – Workers at Intergrow Greenhouses on Route 98 in Gaines are shown in this photo from June 2014.

Press Release, National Grid

GAINES – National Grid is providing economic development and energy efficiency grants to support the 7.5-acre expansion and new jobs at Intergrow Greenhouses along Route 98 in the Town of Gaines.

The $15.2 million expansion by Intergrow will allow for the year-round production of tomatoes on approximately 55.5 acres of greenhouses. The grants, worth more than $500,000 in total, are from National Grid’s extensive programs in economic development and energy efficiency, the company said today.

A significant component of Intergrow’s $15.2 million investment is for electric upgrades. The lighting system for year-round tomato production requires approximately 9.5 megawatts of electricity supply.

About 7 megawatts will be supplied through the extension of a 34.5 kilovolt service line by National Grid at a cost of $1.5 million. The design, construction, testing and commission of the service line to the system substation and the transformers to power the greenhouse lighting system is approximately $3.5 million. This work is supported by a $250,000 grant from National Grid’s electric capital investment incentive program.

Additionally, Intergrow is seeking to increase its overall production of tomatoes through the installation of an advanced control system for the nearly 8,600 light fixtures in its expanded greenhouses. The control system will allow Intergrow to increase crop yield while reducing lighting costs by 30 percent. National Grid is providing an energy efficiency grant of approximately $292,000 in support.

“Intergrow’s expansion presented a unique challenge, and the combined work of our engineering, field operations and economic development teams allowed us to meet the customer’s needs in a timely fashion,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York. “If we are going to build a smart, efficient and reliable electric system then we need to be listening to the needs of our customers and developing solutions together.”

The expansion will create 10 to 15 new jobs while retaining approximately 100 current jobs. It will also increase the company’s tomato production by 600,000 boxes. Intergrow grows beefsteak tomatoes and tomatoes on the vine that are grown from non-GMO seeds.

“Without this investment it would be very difficult for us to compete in the marketplace as retailers want a guaranteed year-round supply of tomatoes,” said Dirk Biemans co-owner of Intergrow Greenhouses. “We have an optimal location where we can get our products overnight to our customers in major markets.”

Intergrow supplies tomatoes on the vine and beefsteak tomatoes to major grocery chains including Hannaford, Aldi, Wegmans and Whole Foods, as well as others.

“This is another example of the public and private sectors working together to bring new jobs and investment to our region,” said James Whipple, CEO and CFO of the County Orleans Industrial Development Agency. “It’s great to see that locally grown products from Orleans County will remain on the shelves of major supermarkets throughout the country.”

In addition to the grant from National Grid, incentives were provided to Intergrow by Empire State Development Corporation, the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit program and NYSERDA.

National Grid’s economic development and energy efficiency grant programs are designed to help companies grow their business efficiently, while supporting job retention and expansion. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.