Representatives of Samsung have visited the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in recent days, Sen. Charles Schumer said today, renewing optimism that the international semiconductor manufacturer may join Plug Power, the Latham-based leader in the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems, in placing a production plant at the 1,250-acre site in the Town of Alabama.
Announcing what he called a "two-pronged approach" at a press conference at the STAMP site off Route 77, Schumer (photo above) said that he has been communicating on a regular basis with the president of Samsung, based in South Korea, and the head of the company's United States operations -- promoting STAMP as the ideal location for the semiconductor facility it is looking to build.
The second prong of Schumer's plan is the passing of special tax credits by Congress to enable Plug Power to expand its operation in Genesee County even beyond its initial projection of producing 45 tons of green energy per day to 500 tons per day by 2025. Plug Power officials are expecting to begin operations at STAMP in about 16 months.
"If we become a manufacturer of high-end chips and if we become a center of hydrogren and hydrogen fuel and hydrogen cells, that will affect jobs in Buffalo, Rochester and all of Western New York," Schumer said. "It will be a great job magnet right here ... in Genesee County ... between Rochester and Buffalo."
Schumer said the goal is to attract jobs and tenants to "this campus right here in Genesee County ... and in Western New York."
He said he is trying to land Samsung's $17 million chip fab and touted Plug Power for building North America's largest green hydrogen fuel cell plant at STAMP.
"Those are two major, major things," he said, drawing applause from several government, business and education leaders who were in attendance.
WNY STAMP is owned by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which was represented by its CEO/President Steve Hyde and other high-ranking employees and board members.
The senator said key components of the strategy is to obtain federal dollars to attract a company such as Samsung, and "to bring critical infusions of federal support to make STAMP a domestic hub for new semiconductor and clean energy industries -- both."
Schumer said he is "quadrupling down" on his efforts to secure new semiconductor manufacturing at STAMP, adding that he authored legislation to allocate $15 billion dollars "so we can make our own chips here."
"If we don't do it, our national security is at risk and our economy is at risk," he said. "And if they're all made overseas -- in Taiwan and in China -- we're going to lose."
He said that many automobile companies in the U.S. are experience slow production because they can't get semiconductor chips.
"I've told the top brass at Intel, Micron and, of course, Samsung that STAMP is an ideal location, and, of course, I will use my clout as (Senate) majority leader once we get the chip manufacturing dollars passed into law ... I will use my clout to try and bring one of those companies right here to Genesee County."
The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 includes $52 billion in incentives for semiconductor manufacturing and research that Schumer said is critical to Samsung and other companies that want to expand their operations in the U.S. He said the USICA is supported by President Biden and "will get through the House (of Representatives) this fall.
Schumer said he has confirmed that Samsung is considering the STAMP site, although no final decisions have been made.
"After a lot of calls showing them that STAMP is the right place for them and showing them that they would have the majority leader on their side, in terms of getting an allocation, they came and visited (last month) and saw for themselves. They paid a visit and saw first-hand how STAMP is -- how tailor-made STAMP is for hosting large semiconductor fab right here," he said.
PUSHING FOR PLUG POWER
Concerning Plug Power, Schumer said he is launching a $9.5 billion push to secure new hydrogen investments through the recently-passed, bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the House and the Senate.
"And we're also including more money for hydrogen and green hydrogen during the upcoming negotiations in the Budget Reconciliation bill," he said. "There are two major parts to this. Already in the bill that passed the Senate, is $8 billion to create four hydrogen hubs in the country. There's no better place than Western New York in terms of hydrogen."
He said Plug Power was the leading hydrogen cell fuel company in the country, and is in near completion of building a "giga-factory" in Henrietta that will employ 380 people.
Schumer said he also is promoting a multi-billion dollar "production tax credit" in addition to the investment tax credit that already is on the books. He said the production tax credit would lower the cost to make green hydrogen by up to $3 per kilogram "and that means more customers for green hydrogen, more demand for the fuel made here at STAMP and more demand for the Plug Power jobs in Western New York."
By increasing the output from 45 tons to 500 tons per day, Plug Power would be creating 700 additional jobs at the STAMP site, Schumer said.
Plug Power's hydrogen cells power forklifts used at some of the world's biggest companies, including Walmart, Amazon and BMW, said Plug Power President/CEO Andrew Marsh, who also was at the press conference.
"The bipartisan infrastructure job act has over a $1 billion for electrolyzers -- for research, demonstration, commercialization and also for reducing the cost and increasing reliability," Marsh said, adding that electrolyzers create hydrogen from green electricity (with) a zero carbon footprint.
He said that leading market experts foresee hydrogen as being 23 percent of the world's energy by 2050.
Marsh said Plug Power's goal is to produce 500 tons of hydrogen per day -- "that's equivalent to a million gallons of gasoline," he advised -- and is poised to do that, in part thanks to raising $5 billion as a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ exchange.
Currently, Plug Power has 1,700 employees, with 1,000 of them in New York.
From GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde:
"The STAMP site was designed and is being built to enable the acceleration of new technologies and advances in manufacturing with our outstanding renewable energy and talent availability. The commitment by Plug Power to bring green hydrogen to the market with Project Gateway at STAMP, and of Senate Majority Leader Schumer to expand the benefit of Genesee County, our region and state, and for the future of our economy and environment."
Photos below: Plug Power President/CEO Andrew Marsh speaking at today's press conference at WNY STAMP site; GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde with Schumer and Marsh. Photos by Mike Pettinella.