Seneca BioEnergy Ribbon Cutting Event Celebrates Start of Grape Seed Oil Production
Submitted by: Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil
(OPENPRESS) December 10, 2011 -- Michael Coia, CEO of Seneca BioEnergy, led a group of about 60 area residents and political officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon in Romulus, Seneca County. Green energy and economic development were the words of the day.
Presiding at the official opening of the Seneca AgBio Green Energy Park and production of its first product, Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil, Coia said, "This has been a three-year process and we're just getting started. We're blending together new innovations in green energy and agriculture."
"With the 2011 wine grape harvest under way, Seneca BioEnergy has started processing grape waste pomace from numerous local wineries, separating grape seeds that ultimately will be pressed to yield Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil," Coia said. "Our product is the first local grape seed oil, a healthy, extra virgin oil with lots of nutrients."
The company also plans to start of production of biodiesel fuel in the coming months at the park, which is located at the former Seneca Army Depot.
Coia said, "We greatly appreciate the strong local commitment demonstrated by the town of Romulus, the Seneca County IDA, New York state, our local legislative officials and NYSEG. Without this successful private/public partnership and the good inter-governmental cooperation, we could not have been here today."
A succession of speakers praised Seneca BioEnergy for its green energy agenda and wished the company well for the future.
State Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, who has been a strong supporter of the redevelopment of the former Seneca Army Depot and has worked closely to assist Seneca BioEnergy at its facility there, paid tribute to Coia as a risk taker and investor.
Talking about the closing of the Army depot more than a decade ago, Nozzolio said, "Picture a 1,200 person business here as the Seneca Army Depot and its entire work force overnight is given pink slips. Now there are more than 1,200 jobs here…more than when the Army was here. The depot site is an economic development engine for this region."
Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents Seneca County and other upstate counties in Congress, said, "In the last 40 years, no new jobs…net new jobs…have been created that were not related to some new innovation." Hanna paid tribute to entrepreneurs and risk-takers.
Other comments at Friday's event included:
Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, the state Assembly minority leader - "Jobs, jobs, jobs. This is what this project is about. If we could do one of these projects every single day it would send a great message that New York state is back in business."
Dave Kaiser, the Romulus supervisor, "I am well aware of the important role of agriculture in our area. I am happy to welcome Seneca BioEnergy to our community. We look forward to more public and private partnerships."
Marianna Pugliese, an aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, read a statement from Gillibrand, which said in part: "Smart initiatives and clean energy create new good-paying jobs."
Joe Rizzo, Regional Manager of Economic Development for NYSEG/Rochester Gas & Electric, which upgraded electric power into Seneca BioEnergy's depot site, called the company "another economic development success story. We're looking at the long-term future of the depot property."
Bob Pass of NYSEG presented an economic development check for $116,550 to Seneca BioEnergy.
After the speakers, the Seneca BioEnergy "Green Team" demonstrated the processing of grape waste pomace from local wineries and the stockpiling of dried grape seeds in preparation of pressing for grape seed oil production. Guests were given the opportunity to taste the extra virgin grape seed oil and discuss plans for continued growth of renewable energy and agricultural processing at the facility.