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Microgrid developer relocates headquarters to Jefferson County

Watertown Daily Times

Feb. 11--WATERTOWN -- A small-scale power grid developer has made Jefferson County the new home of its corporate headquarters.

Acadia Energy Corp. has relocated its main office from Rochester to its satellite facility at the Watertown Center for Business and Industry, 800 Starbuck Ave. The company previously had three locations, but closed it's Buffalo office last year and intended to close its former headquarters.

"There is so much stuff going on in the north country that we decided to put our efforts into the north country," said CEO John Bay. "We're super excited about what's going on. It's a really, really terrific opportunity."

The developer of microgrids -- which are localized power grids that transmit energy directly to customers while either connected to or separate from the main electric grid -- has been working on multiple projects in the county for a few years.

The business incubator will serve as only a temporary home until Acadia Energy can move into the former Florelle Tissue Corp. paper mill in Brownville, Mr. Bay said. The firm plans to build an up-to-$33 million hydroponic farm and energy complex in the plant. The state backed the project with a $415,000 grant through the Regional Economic Development Council awards in December.

Before Acadia Energy, formerly known as Entecco, can move into the mill, Mr. Bay said National Grid has to restore the power and the company has to repair the roof, among other renovations.

"Basically we told (WIC Director of Site Facilities William J. Soluri) we'd stay here until we can move into the paper mill," Mr. Bay said.

Acadia Energy held a satellite office at WIC for about a year, but had neglected to pay eight months of rent, which equals $4,000.

Mr. Bay said paying his dues "got lost in the shuffle" of other plans, but he has committed to a plan to pay the unpaid back rent. The developer and Mr. Soluri, who said the company neglected to make payments while restructuring, recently agreed to an alternate plan that raises its monthly payments from about $400 to about $1,100.

"They've already successfully made their first payment," Mr. Soluri said.

The developer has also been working on a microgrid for the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to be built in the Jefferson County Corporate Park. The project will serve North American Tapes, Jefferson Community College, the town of Watertown and other possible users with solar panels, combined heat and power systems and battery storage.

In addition to the corporate park microgrid and paper mill facilities, Mr. Bay said the company has been working on other projects in the area, which he declined to describe in further detail.

"This entire (project portfolio) has the capability of being nine figures," he said.


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