Local Matters

Community Sponsors

GCEDC

March 26, 2021 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, wny stamp, Plug Power.

Press release:

Plug Power Inc.’s development of North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) received final approval from the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors at its March 25 meeting.

Plug Power Inc. plans to build the $232.7 million green energy technology facility at a 29.884-acre site at STAMP, with a proposed initial operation creating 68 new jobs at an average salary of approximately $70,000.

Plug Power Inc. also will invest $55 million to help build a 345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid. The substation will support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP’s 1,250-acre mega-site.

“The investments by Plug Power Inc. will advance our region’s expanding green hydrogen economy, create good jobs aligned with our county’s workforce training programs, and advance major infrastructure that is accessible to future projects,” said GCEDC President & CEO Steve Hyde.

“This project by Plug Power, along with the team effort by the GCEDC Board of Directors, the Empire State Development, the New York Power Authority, and National Grid, show our capacity to advance regionally significant projects at STAMP.”

Under the incentives application approved by the GCEDC Board, Plug Power Inc. will contribute approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure development under a 20-year agreement.

In addition to Plug Power, the GCEDC Board also approved or accepted applications from five projects totaling another $420 million of capital investment in Genesee County.

The GCEDC Board approved final incentives for Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) for a $9.7 million community solar project on Norton Road in the Town of Elba. The project will generate 5MW of power and generate approximately $518,803 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.

The board also approved final incentives for Solar Liberty for community solar projects on Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke at a capital investment of $7.7 million. The projects will generate 4MW and 5MW of power and will generate approximately $856,024 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Akron Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.

Finally, the GCEDC Board of Directors accepted initial applications for two other projects:

  • Excelsior Energy LLC is proposing to invest $345.55 million in a utility-scale solar project on multiple properties in the Town of Byron. The project will generate 280 MW of power. Excelsior has negotiated a 20-year tax and community host agreements, including payments of $6,500 per MW, with a 2-percent annual escalator, to Genesee County, the Town of Byron, and the Byron-Bergen School District.
  • DePaul Special Needs Apartments LP is proposing to invest $3.75 million to expand by 20 living units an existing special needs housing campus in the City of Batavia. The project would increase annual PILOT payments by approximately $6,000 per year for the remainder of the facility’s existing PILOT schedule.

UPDATE: We asked Jim Krencik, marketing director for GCEDC, to clarify the tax abatements for these projects. He provided the following. The "Property Tax Payments" followed by tax savings is the PILOT on the project (payments in lieu of taxes). The sales tax exemption is an exemption on sales tax for materials used in construction.

Plug Power

  • Approved Property Tax Payments
    • $2.3 million / year
    • $46 million / 20 years
  • Estimated Savings
    • $117.7 million property tax savings / 20 years if assessed at cost of construction ($232.7 million)
  • Anticipated assessment is much more likely to be $60-90 million
    • ·        $2.3 million / year = 0 percent abatement on a $65 million assessment
  • $1.1 million sales tax exemptions

Excelsior Solar

  • Proposed Property Tax Payments
    • $1.8 million / year 1, increases by 2 percent annually
    • Based on $6,500 / megawatt
    • $44 million / 20 years
  • Estimated Savings
    • $21.4 million property tax savings / 20 years
    • On solar panels only, land with panels on them are assessed separately
    • $11.2 million sales tax exemption
March 18, 2021 - 1:59pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business, infrastructure.

Photo: Work on a new high-capacity water line along Route 77 is part of a $2 million infrastructure construction project at STAMP.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that with the anticipated completion of a $2 million infrastructure project this summer, water capacity will increase to more than 1 million gallons per day at the 1,250-acre Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) mega site in Genesee County.

“Every infrastructure milestone adds to the tremendous momentum behind STAMP. Our ability to deliver low-cost, 100-percent renewable power, and utility infrastructure aligned with project timelines and capacities, is driving even greater interest from site selectors and companies looking to locate in Genesee County,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

Hyde noted that STAMP’s development is advancing with significant infrastructure design, engineering, and construction milestones. The mega-site is already designed and permitted for the construction of over 6 million square feet of advanced manufacturing facility space.

The water infrastructure project includes the installation of new high-capacity water lines that will connect with previously extended infrastructure on New York State Route 77 that runs along the STAMP site.

The water line project is supported by New York State, and is aligned with investments by Genesee County and the towns of Alabama and Pembroke to expand infrastructure for economic and community growth. Morsch Pipeline in Avon serves as the lead contractor on the project.

In February, Plug Power Inc. announced it plans to begin construction of North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility at STAMP. Plug Power’s $290 million proposed facility and electric substation investment further expands access to high-capacity, flexible infrastructure on parcels ranging from 30 acres to over 650 acres, Hyde said.

“Partnering with an industry leader like Plug Power is another significant asset available at STAMP to grow the renewable and advanced manufacturing sectors, which will transform our regional economy for generations,” Hyde said.

March 5, 2021 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Plug Power, GCEDC, business, wny stamp.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors accepted an initial application for incentives from Plug Power Inc. for a proposed $232.7 million green energy technology facility at Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) at its March 4 board meeting.

The project, announced by Plug Power on Feb. 25, will produce green hydrogen using an electrolysis process of water utilizing renewable hydropower.

Under the terms of a proposed 20-year PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement, Plug Power would pay approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure, including Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.

Plug Power will also invest $55 million for the construction of a 345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid to support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP.

“Plug Power’s vision at STAMP includes over $100 million of investments into our municipal partners and site infrastructure," said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. "These investments further enhance the strengths of our 1,250-acre mega site.

"At STAMP, projects can access low-cost power that is 100-percent renewable and reliable, at a site that is located, zoned and built for projects to succeed within their timelines.”

Plug Power would initially create approximately 68 new jobs at an average starting salary of approximately $70,000 plus benefits, totaling over $95 million in wages over 20 years. For every $1 of public benefit requested, more than $4.3 of planned investment and spending is estimated for the project, and totaling approximately $500 million over 20 years.

A public hearing will be scheduled on the proposed incentives.

The GCEDC Board of Directors also approved a purchase and sale agreement with Plug Power Inc. covering approximately 29.884 acres at STAMP for the proposed project.

In other actions:

The GCEDC board approved $906,000 of incentives to support LandPro Equipment LLC’s planned $9.2 million project to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel to build a 50,000-square-foot facility for a full-service regional John Deere facility. The planned facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail. The project proposes to create five new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County.

The GCEDC board also accepted an initial application from Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) for a proposed $9.7 million community solar project. The project would generate 5 MW of power and is projected to generate approximately $518,803 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District over a 15-year agreement.

The GCEDC board also accepted applications from Solar Liberty for two community solar projects with a capital investment of approximately $7.7 million in. The projects will generate 4 MW and 5 MW of power and are projected to generate approximately $856,024 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Akron Central School District over a 15-year agreement.

Public hearings will be scheduled on the proposed incentives for each of the community solar projects.

March 2, 2021 - 1:02pm
posted by Press Release in LandPro, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider approving incentives for a $9.2 million project at its March 4 board meeting.  

LandPro Equipment LLC is proposing to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel to build a 50,000-square-foot facility for a full-service John Deere Agriculture and Turf Dealership. The facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail.

The project proposes to create five new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County.

A public hearing about the project was conducted on Feb. 25.

The GCEDC board also will consider initial applications for three community solar projects.

  • Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) is proposing to invest $9.7 million in a community solar project on Norton Road in the Town of Elba. The project will generate 5 MW of power and is projected to generate approximately $518,803 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.  
  • Solar Liberty is proposing to invest $7.7 million in two community solar projects on Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke. The projects will generate 4 MW and 5 MW of power and are projected to generate approximately $856,024 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Akron Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.
March 1, 2021 - 12:48pm
posted by Press Release in Plug Power, GCEDC, news, wny stamp, Alabama.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider accepting an initial application for incentives for Plug Power’s proposed $232.7 million green energy technology facility at Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) at its March 4 board meeting.

The facility would produce green hydrogen through an electrolysis process of water utilizing clean hydropower. The production facility would produce approximately 45 metric tons of liquid hydrogen on a daily basis and sold to customers to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector.

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

Plug Power would initially create approximately 68 new jobs at an average starting salary of approximately $70,000 plus benefits, totaling over $102 million over 20 years.

The company is requesting $118.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions from the GCEDC. For every $1 of public benefit requested, more than $4.3 of investment is proposed by the company or $520 million over 20 years.

Additionally, under the terms of a proposed 20-year PILOT agreement, Plug Power would pay approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure, including Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.

Plug Power will also invest $55 million for the construction of a  345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid to support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP.

Plug Power and New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the proposed project on Feb. 25, which is also being supported by the New York Power Authority and Empire State Development.

A public hearing on proposed incentives will be scheduled if the Board accepts the project application.

February 26, 2021 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Plug Power, news, GCEDC, wny stamp, notify, business.

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."

Original reporting isn't free. You can help us do more of it by supporting The Batavian.

February 25, 2021 - 3:25pm
posted by Press Release in wny stamp, GCEDC, Charles Schumer, news.

Press release:

After fighting for and securing Plug Power’s commitment to build their new "gigafactory" for hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing in Rochester last month, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities.

Plug Power plans on starting with the construction of a $290 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Plant) site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. Schumer said DOE’s engagement will be a win-win in opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain.

Schumer said with DOE support, the new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs.

“My message to the DOE is that with its support, New York’s own Plug Power can lead the charge in dramatically shifting the nation towards clean energy starting with the construction of its first green hydrogen production facility at the STAMP campus in Western New York,” Senator Schumer said.

“The facility would create over 60 new good-paying green-energy jobs, boost the Western New York economy, and serve as a jumping-off point to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities to produce carbon-free fuel-cell power.

"With DOE support, this new green hydrogen fuel production facility in the heart of Western New York between Rochester and Buffalo can be a national model in efforts to achieve the Biden Administration’s drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating and 10 million clean energy jobs.”

In his letter to DOE today, Schumer invited DOE officials to join him in meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE support, technical assistance, and resources can help supercharge Plug Power to new heights by making its plans to build its hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County a reality.

Additionally, the senator explained that the expansion is part of Plug Power’s planned green hydrogen network to develop vertically integrated hydrogen infrastructure across the United States positioning the New York-based company to lead the charge in dramatically reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Plug Power’s new production facility at STAMP would produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply fuel-cell-powered equipment and vehicles such as freight transportation and logistics handling equipment – some powered by fuel cells that will be manufactured at the upcoming Plug Power Gigafactory slated to open in Rochester this summer.

The facility would become the first nationally recognized green hydrogen production center and the first of its kind in the Northeast United States.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, currently employs more than 400 workers in New York to innovate, manufacture and assemble hydrogen fuel cells including about 300 workers in the Capital Region at its headquarters and Capital Region manufacturing sites in Latham and Clifton Park, and about 70 workers at its Rochester manufacturing site.

In 2020, Schumer successfully fought for Plug Power to build their new "gigafactory" in Rochester, which will manufacture hydrogen electrolyzers, used for the production of hydrogen fuel, and hydrogen PEM fuel cells used to produce electricity to power equipment. Slated to open in the middle of next year, the "gigafactory" will add another 375 employees to Plug Power’s New York workforce.

Senator Schumer’s letter to the Department of Energy appears below:

Dear Acting Secretary,

I am writing to seek the Department of Energy’s (DOE) assistance in the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities, starting with the construction of a $264 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. With a soon-to-be nearly 975 member New York workforce and a history of reliability and strong investment in the U.S. hydrogen economy, Plug Power is perfectly positioned to meaningfully contribute towards to Biden Administration’s goals of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating 10 million clean energy jobs.   

Plug Power is striving to build five new green hydrogen fuel production facilities across the U.S., including a proposed $290 million production facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advance Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) that will produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply the fuel-cells in advanced freight transportation vehicles and logistics handling equipment. Support and technical assistance from DOE now would create a win-win in both opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain. This new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs. 

Plug Power is focused on serving the zero-emissions material handling, transportation, and industrial sectors with low-cost green hydrogen fuel that is generated using 100% renewable, zero carbon energy. This project aims to strengthen our country’s economic, environmental, and national security by utilizing domestic energy resources, including low-cost renewable energy from solar photovoltaic, wind, and hydro-electric generation facilities to produce green hydrogen. It will decrease the need for energy imports while creating industry and employment growth opportunities across a variety of markets.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, employs over 1,217 across the world, including over 600 employees in New York with another 375 expected to be added in the coming years at the company’s new gigafactory slated to open in Rochester, NY this summer. The company is focused on building the hydrogen economy as the leading provider of comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions. Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology, deploying approximately 40,000 fuel cell systems, more than any other company in the world.

I would welcome the opportunity to host DOE officials for a meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE can provide technical assistance, support, and resource access to this cutting-edge company to help drive the construction of this new WNY green hydrogen production facility, a strong step towards a nationwide green hydrogen supply chain.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff with any questions you may have.

February 17, 2021 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in kathy hochul, livestream, video, GCEDC.
Video Sponsor

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers regional State of the State message, hosted by Genesee County Economic Development Center.

February 11, 2021 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Steve Hyde, GCEDC, news, wny stamp, batavia, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC. We'll talk about the state of economic development in Genesee County, touching on the ag park, Downtown Batavia, and STAMP. We're scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

February 5, 2021 - 11:36am
posted by Press Release in LandPro, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors accepted an application for incentives for a $7 million capital investment development project on 14 acres of land on West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the Town of Batavia at its Feb. 4 board meeting.

LandPro Equipment LLC proposes to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel on which it would build a 50,000-square-foot facility for a full-service John Deere Agriculture and Turf Dealership. The facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail.

The project proposes to create up to five new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County.

“We are encouraged to see more companies growing in Genesee County with the goal of expanding their operations and increasing training capacity,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Genesee County has the workforce talent and developable properties aligned to accelerate a company’s facility construction and successful operations.”

A public hearing will be scheduled, as LandPro Equipment LLC is seeking property, sales and mortgage tax abatements totaling approximately $731,000. It is anticipated that with every $1 of public sector investment will generate a return of $7 of private sector investment.

February 3, 2021 - 6:26pm

Last week it was Samsung. Now, it’s Plug Power.

According to a story in today’s edition of The Buffalo News, the Albany-based Plug Power has disclosed plans to erect five “green hydrogen” plants in the United States, including a $264 million facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

The plant, which would produce green hydrogen for freight and materials handling equipment, is expected to be in operation by 2024, per the published report.

Previously, it was reported on The Batavian that Samsung is considering the placement of a $17 billion semiconductor plan at STAMP, a venture of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde, responding to an inquiry from The Batavian, issued the following statement, without specifically mentioning Plug Power:

“The Genesee County Economic Development Center recently reached out to our various public sector partners, including the Genesee County Legislature, the Town of Alabama among other local and state partners requesting that the GCEDC take on the role as lead agency for an environmental review of a potential project at STAMP.

“As a result, the GCEDC has completed extensive site readiness for the 1,250-acre STAMP site, including all site-level environmental, archeological, wetland delineation, and zoning requirements. This enables site selectors and prospective tenants to conduct effective due diligence as they evaluate projects at STAMP.

“We are very excited about this significant economic development opportunity for our community and look forward to working with our public sector partners during the due diligence by Project Gateway, as we have on dozens of other economic development projects in Genesee County over the last several years.”

Currently, there are no tenants at the 1,250-acre business park, although county officials have indicated that many companies are looking at the site.

Other highlights of The Buffalo News story:

  • Plug Power would begin construction this March, with an expected completion in December 2022, creating 62 full-time jobs with an average salary of $75,000 plus benefits;
  • An award of $1.5 million to support the venture has been recommended by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board;
  • In its application, Plug Power said it uses a process called electrolysis … leading to “zero-emission freight transport and logistics handling equipment utilizing fuel-cells and clean energy manufactured in New York.” The company said it will be the first of its kind in the Northeast, and would lead to other businesses moving to STAMP.
  • Plug Power will request $2 million from Empire State Development, and a package of sales and property tax abatements through the GCEDC.
January 28, 2021 - 2:06pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer yesterday (Jan. 27) followed up on his efforts to secure a provision in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act to boost American-based semiconductor manufacturing by reaching out directly to Samsung, which is interested in possibly locating their new plant in Genesee County.

He called Senior Vice President of Samsung Device Solutions Joe Herr and other top brass about the Genesee Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- in Alabama and expressed his strong support for the project coming to Western New York.

Samsung is currently considering the STAMP campus, as well as several other locations in other states, for its semiconductor fabrication (“fab”) plant – with 1,900 jobs – that the company plans to open late next year. Samsung’s Device Solutions division includes Samsung’s Global Semiconductor Foundry business. 

“This Samsung project is an exciting and a potential game changer for the region," Schumer said. "I made it clear to Samsung that I strongly support locating their planned 1,900 worker state-of-the-art semiconductor chip fab at the shovel-ready STAMP site in Genesee County. I know firsthand that STAMP is shovel-ready – and that, combined with Upstate New York’s robust semiconductor industry, make Genesee the perfect location for Samsung’s new chip fab.

World-class WNY Workforce

"Our world-class Western New York workforce combined with New York’s considerable experience in semiconductor manufacturing and R&D means STAMP is tailor-made to be the home for Samsung’s new facility. I stand ready to help Samsung harness all that the federal government has to offer to continue to lead the tech industry and position New York as a global hub of semiconductor manufacturing.

“When I stood at STAMP in August to announce my proposal to create the first-ever new federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D incentives program, I said it could put sites like Western New York’s STAMP in contention for landing a new semiconductor manufacturing plant and the thousands of new jobs that come with it.

"This game-changer proposal passed into law last month and already companies like Samsung are considering STAMP for a 1,900 job chip fab plant, partly because of this new federal initiative. Now, I will work to secure this federal investment and offer my all-out support and advocacy in helping STAMP compete for this multi-billion-dollar plant.” 

Schumer has long championed the Genesee site and toured STAMP in August, and knows firsthand how ideal the campus would be as home for Samsung’s new chip fab. Schumer explained to Samsung that he, alongside the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCECC), New York State, and Western New York officials, worked for a decade to help ensure that it was shovel-ready for a semiconductor facility.

WNY Offers: Low Utility Costs, Transportation Networks, Supplies Access, Brain Power

“The STAMP campus, sitting on 1,250 acres of land between Buffalo and Rochester, New York’s second and third largest metros, respectively, with a 1.2 million person world-class workforce, is specifically designed for large-scale fabs and provides maximum flexibility in layout and infrastructure connections,” Schumer said.

"Additionally, the senator pointed out many cost and infrastructure advantages to the STAMP campus location, including low utility costs, access to existing transportation networks, access to New York state’s existing chip fab supply chain ecosystem, and 62 colleges, universities, and community colleges within a two-hour drive of the site including Cornell University, University at Buffalo, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, Genesee Community College.

Schumer said Samsung is relying on his legislation to building new fabs like this one in the United States. In fact, Schumer pointed out, the United States has gone from producing 24 percent of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12 percent while China, by comparison, has gone from producing zero chips to 16 percent of the world’s supply because the United States is not matching the investments that other competing nations are making in order to land new job-creating semiconductor chip fabs.

The senator's first-ever legislation will reverse this imbalance and level the playing field for companies like Samsung to build new chip fabs in the United States. For the first-time Schumer’s legislation will provide federal incentives to semiconductor chip fabs to build in the United States.

U.S. Reliance on Foreign-made Microelectronics Could Pose 'Huge Risks'

Upon passage of his legislation last month in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act Schumer said his legislation is vital. He noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, by 2030, non-U.S. competitors are projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

In a recent meeting with the Commerce Secretary nominee, Governor Gina Raimondo, Schumer raised the urgent need to fully fund and implement the new Commerce semiconductor manufacturing grant program he passed into law as part of last year’s defense authorization, pointing to this Samsung investment as an example for why these federal incentives are such a high priority. Federal incentives are critical to the United States successfully competing with other countries, including China, for new semiconductor manufacturing investment like the proposed Samsung facility.

Schumer, in addition to paving the way for future federal incentives for investment into domestic semiconductor manufacturing previously brought STAMP to the attention of the Department of Defense, urging the agency to work with the semiconductor industry to expand the domestic supply of chips and other microelectronics.

STAMP is Made Specifically for What Samsung Needs

STAMP is specifically designed for development of large-scale semiconductor manufacturing. The 1,250 acre mega site can accommodate large advanced manufacturing operations with its expansive space for several plants.

Schumer has also previously lobbied the Board of Directors of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) to put STAMP on their map and pitched SIA’s 18 semiconductor industry CEOs to look to expand their operations in Upstate New York at sites like STAMP in Genesee County.

In 2017 Schumer helped secure Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT agreement with Genesee County, the proceeds of which were needed to finance new water infrastructure at STAMP.

In 2016 Schumer began assisting STAMP secure necessary U.S. Fish and Wildlife right-of-way permits to construct new infrastructure hook-ups to STAMP. In 2012, Schumer successfully advocated on behalf of STAMP by calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide necessary wetlands permit assurances so that STAMP's developers could proceed with developing the site.

December 7, 2020 - 2:35pm

Press release:

Following his unveiling of his bipartisan American Foundries Act and successful addition of this bill as an amendment in July to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the final version of the FY2021 NDAA includes his provision to bolster U.S. leadership in the semiconductor and broader microelectronics industries.

The senator explained that the new programs included in NDAA will increase federal support for semiconductor manufacturing by providing new federal incentives to conduct advanced research and development of semiconductor technology, secure the supply chain, and ensure national and economic security by reducing reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor industry, is the perfect place to grow domestic semiconductor R&D and manufacturing by leaps and bounds,” Senator Schumer said.

“America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here in Upstate New York. With today’s victory, we are one step closer to ensuring our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs.

"This is a step essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry. I’m pleased to deliver this win in this year’s final NDAA for the Upstate New York economy and the entire country’s national security and competitiveness."

The senator noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge and undercut U.S. leadership. In fact, Schumer pointed out, the U.S. has gone from producing 24 percent of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12 percent more recently.

In contrast, China has gone from producing zero chips to 16 percent of the world’s supply in the same time frame. The senators warned that by 2030, Asia is projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

Schumer has long-championed increased efforts to expand the domestic microelectronics industry, supporting companies like GlobalFoundries, which houses their most advanced "Fab 8" manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, IBM, and others. With New York home to multiple major companies and research institutions in the semiconductor industry, the state is positioned to securely supply the U.S. government with critical technologies and maintain U.S. leadership in this technology. It offers a tremendous opportunity for New York’s semiconductor companies to expand operations, create more jobs in Upstate New York, and help the United States reduce its reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

Supporters of the original amendment included GlobalFoundries, IBM, ON Semiconductor, Cree Inc., the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Cornell University, Binghamton University, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

"We applaud Senator Schumer for his leadership and dedication to attract significant semiconductor investments and innovations back to America," said Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. "The strategic advantages created by Senator Schumer‘s amendment are a critical step forward for our economy. The semiconductor industry has a clear pathway for success through New York's unmatched talent base and the high-capacity infrastructure available at the 1,250-acre Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Genesee County."

Emmanuel P. Giannelis, vice provost for Research and Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property and Research Policy at Cornell University, said, “Senator Schumer has long recognized that the best way to keep America at the forefront of the technology revolution is to invest in research and development here at home.

"Not only does the American Foundries Act of 2020 direct critical resources into expanding the domestic production of microelectronics, it also points the way to the future with substantial funding for research and innovation. It is especially fitting, given the importance of the semiconductor industry to national security, that this important proposal is moving through Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Cornell University is pleased to support the American Foundries Act and commends Senator Schumer for his leadership.”

Details on the original amendment that has been integrated into the final NDAA can be found below. The amendment:

  • Directs the Secretary of Commerce to create a grant program for constructing, expanding, or modernizing commercial semiconductor fabrication, assembly, testing, packaging, and advanced R&D facilities in the United States.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to create a partnership program with the private sector to encourage the development of advanced, measurably secure microelectronics for use by the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, critical infrastructure, and other national-security applications.
  • Requires the Secretary of Commerce to commence a review within 180 days assessing the state of the U.S. semiconductor industrial base.
  • Establishes a Multilateral Microelectronics Security Fund, with which the United States, its allies and partners will work to reach agreements promoting consistency in their policies related to microelectronics, greater transparency including supply chains, and greater alignment in export control and foreign direct investment policies.
  • Directs the president to establish a subcommittee on microelectronics leadership and competitiveness within the National Science and Technology Council, directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a national semiconductor technology center to conduct research, fund semiconductor startups and a Manufacturing USA Institute, create a National Advance Packaging Manufacturing Program, and encourage the Secretary of Labor to work with the private sector on workforce training and apprenticeships in semiconductor manufacturing, and establish a Department of Defense National Network for Microelectronics Research and Development.
November 9, 2020 - 2:22pm

Photo: Aaron Leone, right, practices his welding skills on the Miller LiveArc machine, as welding instructor Andrew Geyer, guides him.

Submitted photo and press release:

When Graham Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Center approached the executive principal of the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus about donating a welding simulator, Jon Sanfratello knew that this was a huge bonus for the Metal Trades Program.

“When businesses invest in our programs, our students are the true benefactors," Sanfratello said. "This welding simulator, that Graham Corporation has so generously donated,will provide our students with an additional training tool to test their skills.

"One of our top priorities here at GV BOCES is the integration of both applied and practical skills into curriculumso our students are college and career-ready. This training tool is another means of achieving our goal. We are so very appreciative of Graham’s investment in our program and students.”

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Graham Corp. provided them a Miller LiveArc Welding System. It provides a simulation scenario for a student to practice welds in a live-arc training mode.

Andrew Geyer is the welding instructor at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center.

“The Miller LiveArc has cameras and infrared sensors that will read students’ welds and grade them accordingly based upon the parameters that are set,” Geyer said. “It is our hope that representatives from Graham can spend some time with us and program the machine with industry-based welds, so students can get a better understanding of what is expected in industry.” 

Geyer and Metal Trades students recently met with Graham Corp. representatives and Chris Suozzi, GCEDC vice president of Business & Workforce Development, via Zoom. During this online meeting, students asked many questions about employment opportunities at Graham Corporation.

Graham Corp. is well known for being a major employer in the region as well as a big supporter of schools especially, Genesee Valley BOCES. Graham has gifted other materials used in the Metal Trades Program at the GV BOCES Batavia Campus, too.

“The Welding Program at the Batavia CTE Center is very important to Graham Corporation and to our community," said Alan Smith, general manager of Graham Corp. "As Graham continues to grow, access to skilled welders is vital. Welders make up approximately 50 percent of Graham's skilled workforce.

"Graham has a long history of supporting the welding program at the Batavia CTE Center with donations of plate steel and weld wire. Graham's latest donation of the weld simulator will enable students to learn proper welding techniques by providing immediate feedback while saving the expensive cost of weld wire.”

Graham Corporation also has a track record of hiring welding students from the Batavia CTE Center and from other BOCES around New York State. Don Fonda, superintendent at Graham Corp., says this partnership goes back decades.

“We have close to 75 employees who went to a BOCES program, and add in some recent new hires, the total is over 80 employees," Fonda said. "We have 53 employees who came to Graham from the Batavia GV BOCES program.

“From what I could find out the Graham/Batavia GV BOCES connection goes back to the 1970s when GV BOCES was next to the industrial center. Bob Torrey was one of the first co-op students at Graham. He started at Graham working three days and Saturdays in January of 1974 while he was in school. He was hired full time in June 1974, 46 years ago.”

Suozzi says partnerships like this benefit the community.

"The Genesee County Economic Development Center applauds Graham Corporation for investing in equipment and experiences that will benefit every 11th- and 12th-grade student learning in GV BOCES' welding lab," Suozzi said. "This partnership strengthens the skills of our students for the great careers at Graham Corporation.”

November 6, 2020 - 5:29pm

Don’t go grouping Genesee County with five other rural counties outside of the heavy-populated hubs of Erie and Niagara when it comes to private-sector job losses over the past five years.

That’s one of the themes emanating from a Nov. 4 story in Buffalo Business First that reveals the findings of a federal report, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, pertaining to the Western New York business climate prior to the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the BBF article, Genesee County “is an exception to the generally gloomy news about the six outlying counties” – the others being Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Orleans and Wyoming.

Genesee County, per the QCEW, created an additional 718 private-sector jobs between 2015 and March 2020, a period that culminated before the adverse effects of COVID-19 took hold. That represents a 4.4-percent increase.

Citing the BBF story, “The six outlying counties (including Genesee) collectively lost 4.1 percent of their jobs during the 2015-20 span, a period in which the national economy was prospering. A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished” from the six counties.

The number jumps to a 5.7-percent decline in employment for those other five counties when removing Genesee’s performance.

Steve Hyde, president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, contacted today said he’s not surprised by the report’s favorable news.

“In Genesee County, the continued collaboration among the various levels of government with our strong private sector is resulting in economic growth through capital investment and jobs,” he said. “The results shared since 2015 are visible at Genesee County’s eight shovel-ready business parks and the sustained growth of many Genesee County companies.”

Hyde contributed the growth to investments made by the county’s major employers as well as smaller businesses that have expanded their operations.

Some of those major employers include HP Hood, O-At-Ka Milk Products, Liberty Pumps, Wright Beverage and Tompkins Bank/Insurance.

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said the QCEW report validates that Genesee County “is indeed a great place to work and live.”

“We are fortunate to have excellent companies in our backyard that are growing and investing right here in Genesee County,” Landers said today. “The combined efforts of the GCEDC, Batavia Development Corporation, Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, and Chamber of Commerce have helped to attract and retain many of these private-sector jobs, and have us positioned for continued growth for years to come.”

The BBF story called Genesee County “the one exception” to a downturn in job growth in the rural counties when compared to increases in the number of private-sector businesses in Erie and Niagara counties, per the QCEW study.

“A total of 4,303 private-sector positions vanished from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties … while at the same time Erie and Niagara counties were adding 11,845 private-sector jobs, representing an increase of 2.7 percent,” according to the BBF article.

The story also pointed out that Orleans and Wyoming counties "essentially broke even" during the five-year span.

October 30, 2020 - 1:06pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors formally adopted a Phase 1 Housing Policy at the agency’s meeting on Oct. 29. The Phase 1 policy establishes incentives and criteria for multifamily rental/market-rate and multifamily rental/affordable housing projects.

The Phase 1 Housing Policy is the result of the findings from a study and assessment of Genesee County’s housing stock conducted by LaBella Associates in 2018 and an economic development strategic assessment of Genesee County conducted by the Rockefeller Institute of Government in 2019.

Among the key findings of both assessments:

  • Genesee County has an extremely aged housing stock with an average median age of 73+ years;
  • There is a marketplace demand demand/need for approximately 4,800 new housing units, market-rate apartments, and owner-occupied units $100,000+;
  • Grants and/or incentives should be provided to promote new housing construction;
  • Incentives should be created to spur investment in the housing stock.
  • Failure to meet market housing demand will negatively impact economic development, including potential out-migration of current residents.

“I want to thank and acknowledge the great work of the members of the GCEDC Housing Committee, including our Housing Committee Chair Paul Battaglia that took a methodical approach in developing this policy,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “It is irrefutable that there is a demand in the marketplace for new housing and if we do not address the supply there will be negative economic impacts.”

The GCEDC Phase 1 Housing Policy would offer property tax exemptions for new construction and/or rehabilitation of multifamily rental market rate and affordable housing projects; sales tax exemptions for the purchase of construction materials, equipment rentals and purchases; and mortgage tax exemptions. These are the typical incentives available through the GCEDC for projects across the county.

“The members of the Housing Committee and the GCEDC Board recognize that housing is an integral part of economic development, including the demand among employers who are concerned about being able to attract new workers as they expand their operations because of a lack of quality housing near their workplaces,” Battaglia said.

“We are confident in the review by our legal counsel that we can begin to offer these incentives to developers to improve the County’s housing stock and we are excited about moving forward to get some projects started.”

October 2, 2020 - 5:17pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, news, Washington Towers, batavia.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved incentives for a $12.8 million renovation of an existing apartment complex in the City of Batavia at its Oct. 1 board meeting.

Batavia Senior Housing Preservation LLC’s project will invest approximately $21,400 per unit in hard construction costs, assuring the apartment complex at 1 State St. remains viable as a safe and affordable housing option for low-income seniors. Current residents will not be displaced during the renovation and construction.

The project has been approved for a private activity bond, sales and mortgage tax exemptions and a property tax abatement. The property tax abatement is limited to the increase in future value only. Project incentives are estimated at approximately $376,466.

September 9, 2020 - 10:56am
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) adopted their 2021 budget at the board’s Sept. 4 meeting with projected expenditures of approximately $23.3 million.

The budget includes $21.1 million in grants for the continued development of infrastructure at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP), of which $19.5 million is earmarked for the advancement of Phase I infrastructure at the campus (remaining funds from the original $33 million state allocation); and, $1.6 million dedicated to the advancement of Phase II infrastructure (initial funds from the $8 million Empire State Development grant).

The 1,250-acre WNY STAMP campus in the Town of Alabama is the largest high-tech greenfield site in New York with a capacity of low-cost hydropower for energy-intensive industries and a labor shed of approximately two million workers from the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions.

“The GCEDC is building WNY STAMP and STAMP’s North Campus and South Campus as a catalyst for the success of the people of Genesee County and companies that will create a stronger future in our region,” said Peter Zeliff, chairman of the GCEDC.

As a public benefit corporation, the GCEDC generates fees from economic development projects and other sources to run the agency’s operations, programs, and services.

The GCEDC anticipates $375,000 in revenues from project origination fees and $3,300 in revenues from revolving loan fund interest and $280,000 in project revenues recognized in previous years. Revenues also include a $300,000 grant that will be allocated by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) to support the agency’s overall Economic Development Program.

“There is a large body of work that occurs at this agency each year, and I am pleased that we continue to find resourceful ways to serve the businesses and citizens of Genesee County,” said Lezlie Farrell, CFO of the GCEDC. “Operating expenditures have been controlled and reduced wherever possible.”

The GCEDC budget anticipates a $233,000 allocation by Genesee County to support economic development that results in a growing return on investments to the county. In 2019, the last full year of data available, GCEDC projects (current and expired) produced over $5.03 million in combined PILOT payments and property taxes to local taxing jurisdictions.

“Genesee County is a vital partner in our efforts to bring new business and growth to our region. We rely on the Genesee County Legislature to support our budget and operations so we can continue to enable business and community success,” Zeliff said. “In 2019, Genesee County and local taxing jurisdictions benefited from 21.5 dollars returned on every dollar allocated to GCEDC operations.”

September 1, 2020 - 9:42am

neppalli_holdings_llc_main_street_batavia.jpg

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider final approval for a building renovation project in the City of Batavia at its Sept. 3 board meeting. 

Neppalli Holdings LLC is proposing to invest approximately $1.165 million to renovate a three-story building at 99 Main St. in Downtown Batavia. The renovation and redevelopment of the 7,500-square-foot building, which was built in 1865, would include a new storefront, façade and reconstruction of the existing three floors.

A dental practice will occupy the first floor with the second floor being developed for commercial office space. The third floor will include a pair of two-bedroom market-rate apartments.

Neppalli Holdings LLC is the latest transformational building renovation project to proceed in Downtown Batavia through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

The project is requesting sales and mortgage tax benefits totaling $63,500.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. this Thursday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the meeting will be conducted via conference and online at www.gcedc.com.

August 31, 2020 - 8:06am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, GCEDC, CY Properties, Excelsior Energy Center.

yunker.jpgWhile quick to point out that his business has signed on to lease farmland to the Excelsior Solar Project, former Genesee County Legislator Craig Yunker said that all Town of Byron residents in the municipality stand to reap financial rewards.

“My views are somewhat conflicted because of our involvement in it, but it is a good project. It is renewable energy,” Yunker said. “And it is a win for the taxpayers in Byron, the county and the Byron-Bergen school district. If you look at the economy in Byron, it is a strong ag economy but there’s no sales tax generated by the town, for all intents and purposes. This is a revenue source.”

Yunker is a managing partner of the Elba-based CY Farms, a 6,000-plus-acre crop farm, and owns Batavia Turf, a turf farming operation in Batavia, and CY Heifers, a 4,000-head replacement heifer business that raises calves for local dairy farms.

Well-known in the community, Yunker, since 2014, has sat on the board of directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center – the agency that is negotiating with Excelsior Energy Center on a payment in lieu of taxes agreement that would benefit the three taxing jurisdictions: Town of Byron, Byron-Bergen Central School District and Genesee County.

“Everybody from the town is going to benefit from the PILOT revenue – and it will be a lot of money,” Yunker said, adding that he has recused himself from voting on any and all matters pertaining to the solar project. “Negotiations are going on now.”

Yunker explained that Excelsior Energy would be tax exempt but under the PILOT they would make payments in lieu of taxes.

“If they were assessed full value on a commercial basis – once it changes from farmland to commercial the assessment will go up – the project wouldn’t come here. It wouldn’t be economically feasible for NextEra (Energy Resources, parent company of Excelsior Energy),” he said. “But yet the taxing jurisdictions want them to come because there will be a lot more tax revenue than it would be if it was farmland.”

Exactly how much revenue is unknown at this point, but judging from the PILOTs approved earlier this year for Borrego Solar’s five community solar projects totaling just 22 megawatts in the Elba, Pembroke and Akron school districts, it likely will be in the several millions.

The GCEDC authorized $1,141,366 in revenues over 15 years for three Town of Batavia projects, broken down as follows:

  • $390,041 in revenues to Genesee County;
  • $433,033 in revenues to the Pembroke Central School District;
  • $318,292 in revenues to the Elba Central School District.

And the GCEDC authorized $951,138 in revenues over 15 years for two Town of Pembroke projects, broken down as follows:

  • $364,711 in revenues to Genesee County;
  • $586,427 in revenues to the Akron Central School District.

Yunker said Byron has little industry other than Oxbo International, which builds sales tax-exempt farm machinery, and that all municipalities will be affected should Gov. Andrew Cuomo follow through on state aid cuts of 20 percent or more.

“If you had a bunch of businesses ready to come here and build factories and would pay full tax revenues, that would be better. But we don’t have those lining up to come here,” he said. “It’s about creating a revenue source so that the town can provide services to its residents and the school district can provide services to the residents without an unbearable property tax levy.”

As far as the landowners are concerned, Yunker acknowledged a “ballpark figure” of $1,000 to $1,500 an acre is being offered by Excelsior Energy. Payments would arrive on an annual basis. He said that CY Properties has contracted to lease land on Gillette Road and Ivison Road, but the exact number of acres has yet to be determined.

He also said he understood residents’ opposition to the project.

“Their arguments are that it is taking agricultural land out of production and it is going to change the visual nature of the town,” he said. “It won’t ruin the agricultural land. It will take it out of production for a period of time – 25 years – but it doesn’t ruin it.”

Yunker said if and when the solar company leaves, they would remove everything and the land would become farmland again.

“It’s not like you build a housing development and put in streets or build a factory; that’s gone forever,” he said. “This is a relatively temporary use of farmland and it doesn’t destroy the farmland.”

He addressed another concern of those against it -- the visual aspect of driving through farmland.

“People like the vista of farms and they prefer that vista over the solar panels. But I would point out that, currently, they don’t pay anything for the vista,” he offered. “If we were to let it grow to shrubs and weeds, not mow it, it wouldn’t be so pleasant to look at. But nobody is paying the farmers for that. There’s an external benefit that agriculture gives to the community at no charge.”

Ultimately, Yunker said, the landowners have a right to use their land “as long as they follow the rules.”

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button