Plug Power's commitment to STAMP adds up to more than just 68 jobs, says GCEDC CEO
The construction of a hydrogen fuel production facility at WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park will have benefits for Genesee County that go far beyond the 68 jobs expected to go along with the $290 million project, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, in an interview this afternoon.
Besides positioning STAMP to potentially be a big part of New York's green energy future, Plug Power has agreed to invest more than $55 million in a 450-megawatt electrical substation that other potential STAMP manufacturers can tap into.
"This is a big, huge investment," Hyde said. "This will more than double our investment into infrastructure in STAMP."
While some infrastructure is already in place much of the infrastructure construction for STAMP has been on hold until an advanced manufacturer agreed to locate a plant in the 1,250-acre mega site. Now the business development team at GCEDC will be able to tell site selectors that critical infrastructure, such as the substation, will be in place by a time-specific date. That may help some site selectors who have been kicking the tires of STAMP -- including, according to news reports, Samsung -- make a final decision about their construction plans.
STAMP has been Hyde's dream project for more than a decade and throughout all these years he has cheerfully repeated, "economic development is a marathon and not a sprint." He used the phrase again today.
And he's not across the finish line yet. There is still a purchase agreement to complete and get approved by the GCEDC board with Power Plug as well as ironing out the final figures on an incentive package to help bring down development costs for the company. Typically these include a PILOT (payments made in lieu of taxes), and tax abatements on construction materials.
New York has already committed to providing $2 million in tax credits for job-creation its Excelsior program. These are incentives the company will not receive unless they meet job creation targets.
Plug Power will tap into clean hydroelectronic power from Niagara Falls to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will be liquified, stored in tanks, and transported to Henrietta where Power Plug is building a hydrogen fuel cell factory.
Many of those fuel cells will be used in forklifts and other warehouse equipment used by companies like Walmart and Amazon, giving those companies a cost-effective and 100-percent carbon-free source of energy for a key part of its operations.
Hydrogen fuel cells will also be available for long-haul trucking as well as other applications.
"We're going to be part of a 100-percent green, renewable energy ecosystem," Hyde said.
He said that will help make STAMP attractive to other companies participating in New York's push to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
That viewpoint mirrors the opportunity for STAMP to become an innovative hub for green energy with 1366 Technologies, which manufactures state-of-the-art solar wafer chips, announcing its intention to build a plant in STAMP in 2015. That proposal fell apart after years of delays because the Department of Energy would not sign off on a previously promised loan guarantee. Then Rep. Chris Collins apparently did nothing during that time to help push the project along with the DOE.
The DOE will not be as heavily involved in this project and Rep. Chris Jacobs seems to have no reservations about supporting the project. He issued this statement this evening:
“Landing Plug Power is an incredible win for Genesee County and the entire region. Thanks to the great work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, the STAMP site is attracting high-tech, innovative businesses to bolster our region and provide high-paying jobs to Western New York. This is only the beginning, and I’ll do whatever I can to help bring more opportunities to our area.”
The Plug Power plant is expected to produce 45 tons of hydrogen fuel on a daily basis.
The New York Power Authority is supporting the project with:
- 10 MW allocation of low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project;
- $1.5 million from the Western New York Power Proceeds program;
- 143 MW of High-Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market.
Power Plug is investing another $125 million in a facility in Henrietta to create fuel cells. The project is expected to create another 377 jobs for the region.
In a statement released yesterday, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said, "Plug Power's future rightfully revolves around building the green hydrogen economy. We are grateful our home state of New York supports aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives. And, that Plug Power's green hydrogen solutions can make such an impact on positive environmental and economic climates in the state."
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