June 14, 2008

Patrick Delivers Funds for Jobs in Tyngsboro, Ayer

By Matt Murphy, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Jun. 14--Gayle Simone

[email protected]

Gov. Deval Patrick came to the region bearing gifts yesterday, including a major loan for a local clean-energy company and $1.3 million in job grants for Ayer to extend the town's sewer lines.

Patrick started his morning on the Tyngsboro campus of Beacon Power Corp., helping that company celebrate its expansion since moving to Greater Lowell earlier this year.

Beacon Power, one of the state's emerging clean-energy companies, will receive a $5 million state loan to grow the company and create new technology jobs.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced the funding at the company's Middlesex Road headquarters, joined by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas,

Energy Secretary Ian Bowles, state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos and others.

"Beacon Power is another in a series of clean-energy technology companies that is making Massachusetts its home, and the world its customer," Patrick said. "I'm proud of the help our agencies are giving this impressive young company, and proud to have them here in Tyngsboro."

From there, Patrick went on to Ayer, where he presented a $1.3 million Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) grant to extend the public sewer line to a new plant on Fitchburg Road being developed by Animat-USA, a Canadian company, for the manufacture of recycled rubber matting for the agricultural industry. The project is a partnership with an Ayer company, J.P.

Routhier, which recycles rubber from old tires. The venture is expected to create 70 to 100 jobs.

The governor met with students at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School before stopping at Ayer Town Hall where he also announced a $84,000 workforce training grant for G.V. Moore Lumber in Ayer.

"Today I came with a check, but let me give it some context," he said from the Town Hall. "All across the country in households everywhere people are feeling unease about out current economy. They are worried about tomorrow. ... What we've been trying to do here in Massachusetts is take some steps, short and immediate, to shore up our own economic present and build for our economic future."

In Tyngsboro, Beacon Power's $5 million loan comes through a collaborative agreement with MassDevelopment's Emerging Technology Fund and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which have each agreed to provide Beacon Power with $2.5 million.

The funding will be used to fully develop Beacon Power's 103-square-foot facility in Tyngsboro and hire up to 20 new employees in 2008 to help with the manufacturing of flywheels, devices that recycle electricity for use in the power grid.

"Beacon Power has always been a Massachusetts-based company, and we applaud the state's commitment to clean-technology industry," said Bill Capp, president and CEO. "Governor Patrick and his team understand the importance of supporting development-stage companies like ours."

Patrick and other officials toured the Beacon Power headquarters yesterday, seeing firsthand the work and processes behind manufacturing flywheel systems.

Beacon Power is an offshoot of Satcon Technologies in Cambridge, which first opened 10 years ago in Woburn before moving to Wilmington and then Tyngsboro. The companies moved into its Tyngsboro headquarters in January.

Gene Hunt, director of corporate communications at Beacon Power, said the company plans to double in size in 2009 as it uses the state loans as leverage to expand its manufacturing operation. Beacon Power currently employs 54 people in Tyngsboro.

"The presence of the governor and other officials here today underscores their commitment to helping clean-technology companies like Beacon grow and get their products to market," Hunt said.

"These are good-paying technology jobs," Hunt said.

Flywheel systems operate as mechanical batteries without requiring fuel that absorb and recycle electricity. The devices trap unused electricity on the grid at low-demand points and funnel that power back into the electric grid to meet higher demand.

The flywheels operate in real time, function to keep the flow of electricity steady without requiring power plants to ramp up and down production, creating pollution and wasting energy.


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