In Drum Country, green solutions like wind, solar and hydro-electric have all become powerful sources of energy. But Drum Country is rich in another source of energy: the power generated by business, economic development, University R&D and state government working together. The resources, the workforce, the location: it’s all here. Drum Country is abundant in key natural resources that are aligned with many current and forward-leaning green technologies. Cooperative efforts between business and educational institutions are creating a ready workforce and Drum Country is also home to many alternative and renewable energy businesses as the heart of New York’s “Energy Valley”.

Business Incentives:

Helping Renewable Businesses Profit

Whether you are a start up or expanding business, Drum Country can help you access the following types of incentives:

  • Workforce training programs
  • Real property tax and investment incentives
  • Energy and power discount programs
  • Grants and low interest loan programs

The Company We Keep: Leaders in Green Technology

In the last five years, Drum Country has become home to a crop of new companies that have started up around green technologies like biomass, hydro and solar energy. Existing companies, such as Kraft Foods, have adopted new technologies like anaerobic digesters that harvest biogas from their waste milk and whey. That biogas is then burned in the plant in natural gas boilers that have been modified to burn biogas. Other companies, in the foreground and on the horizon, include:

Biomass Conversion

High quality natural resources and proximity to markets make the region attractive to renewable energy firms like Seaway Timber Harvesting and Curren Renewable Energy.  Seaway Timber Harvesting produces over 300,000 tons of wood chips annually, while Curren Renewable Energy utilizes the resources of its Seaway Timber Harvesting firm to produce over 100,000 tons of high quality wood pellets.

An example of this is Seaway Timber Harvesting and Curran Renewable Energy, which are both owned by Patrick, Timothy and Lee Curran. Seaway Timber Harvesting produces over 300,000 tons of wood chips annually while Curran Renewable Energy utilizes the resources of its Seaway Timber Harvesting firm to produce over 100,000 tons of high quality wood pellets.

Methane to Electricity

In October 2008, Innovative Energy Systems began generating electricity at the Development Authority of the North Country’s Solid Waste Management Facility. Using four 1.6MW generators, the plant converts methane into electricity–enough electricity to power over 3,000 homes. The gas-to-energy project was the first carbon reduction project outside California to earn carbon credits.

Wind Farms

Horizon Wind operates three wind farms in the region, generating a total of over 300 MW. Additional wind farm projects are proposed in the region.

Hyrdo Power

Drum Country is home to the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. Located on the St. Lawrence River, the generating station can produce more than 900,000 KW of electricity.  In addition, the region’s abundant waterways host an additional 63 hydro projects.

Workforce Development in the Energy Valley

Drum Country is part of a five-county region that has been dubbed New York State’s “Energy Valley” -and with good reason. The regional effort of businesses, government and education working in concert makes Drum Country a prime location for companies and industries dedicated to alternative and renewable energy sources.

Educational facilities have adopted a comprehensive “green-think” mentality and are creating programs to train an alternative and renewable energy workforce:

  • SUNY Canton: Started a renewable energy technology curriculum to support workforce development in alternative and renewable energy systems.
  • SUNY Jefferson Community College: Hired a coordinator for Energy Programs and offers a Renewable Energy Management Certificate Program.
  • The Workforce Development Institute: The local trade unions have developed a depth of expertise in wind turbine installation and maintenance from their involvement in large-scale wind projects.
  • Clarkson University: Home to The Institute for a Sustainable Environment which fosters collaboration among faculty, students and partners to put themselves at the forefront of change and creating sustainable systems across the globe.

The Fort Factor: Sustainable Energy

Fort Drum is home to ReEnergy Black River, a state-of-the-art producer of sustainable energy. Besides creating green energy, the facility also provides hundreds of jobs, both directly and indirectly, and is a catalyst to the local economy by providing long-term procurement contracts and a workforce development pipeline.

ReEnergy Black River uses local biomass as a primary fuel source, and produces approximately 400,000MWh of electricity each year. That amount is enough to supply more than 50,000 homes with energy and could potentially satisfy 100 percent of Fort Drum’s demand for electricity.

ReEnergy also uses local wood from managed lands certified by third-party groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the American Tree Farm System.


New York State offers incentives for renewables:

Environmental Investment Program: helping businesses capture the economic benefits associated with pollution prevention, waste reduction, re-use and recycling.

National Grid’s Renewable Energy and Economic Development Program:  Funds a limited number of projects that demonstrate alternative generation technologies while producing significant economic development benefits for the region.  The program will provide matching grants up to $750,000 for collaborative projects that involve an Upstate research institution, one or more renewable energy technology partners, and a regional economic development sponsor.