For Immediate Release - August 31, 2011

Leaders Celebrate Federal Grant to Support Holyoke Innovation District, Computing Center

Patrick-Murray Administration, Congressional delegation successfully secured funds for electric utility infrastructure upgrades to advance MGHPCC's research, attract other high-tech firms to City

BOSTON - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration and congressional leaders today celebrated the United States Commerce Department's $2.1 million award for hydro-electric infrastructure improvements needed to support Holyoke's Innovation District and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). Holyoke Gas and Electric will oversee the $7.4 million project to supply the MGHPCC with the reliable power it needs to conduct world-class research and development as well as put the necessary infrastructure in place to make it more feasible for high-tech firms to locate downtown.

"This investment will help revamp Holyoke's electrical infrastructure, increase resources for businesses, and put people back to work," said Senator John Kerry. "We went to bat for this award because we've seen Holyoke's innovative development in clean energy, and these upgrades will drive high-tech business jobs and investments in Massachusetts."

"This award will fund the critical infrastructure necessary to bring stable and reliable power to the heart of Holyoke's Innovation District, opening the door to high tech firms and creating the opportunity for world-class research," said Congressman John Olver. "I have no doubt that these funds will yield a return on investment that will be felt by generations to come in the region."

"Governor Patrick and I want Holyoke to be at the forefront of the state's innovation economy, and are working with our federal, local and private partners to maximize the job creation opportunities associated with the MGHPCC," said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. "This award further advances the center's progress and lays the groundwork for future innovation investments in this critical Gateway City."

With existing infrastructure, Holyoke has the capacity to add only 2.5 megawatts of new demand for electricity once the MGHPCC is built. By making electrical transmission and distribution upgrades, this project will expand capacity to 35 megawatts and allow for additional business development and job creation in the Innovation District. The Patrick-Murray Administration recognized the need to modernize the city's utility infrastructure in order to build an innovation cluster around the MGHPCC, and worked with the city to enhance its application to the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration and advocated for its favorable consideration.

"This EDA investment helps the city to create the conditions and maximize the potential of Holyoke's Innovation District in downtown and gives us the opportunity to connect high-speed fiber optic services from the district to any destination point in the region," said Holyoke Mayor Elaine Pluta. "Add to that the Cisco Smart + Connected Communities project and the fact that HG & E's hydroelectric power is a long standing clean energy resource; these are exciting job producing developments in Holyoke that are certainly not reserved for the future tense."