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New York Power Authority

October 20, 2021 - 2:04pm

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Gov. Kathy Hochul touted the hard working Western New York community today as she took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to recognize Plug Power, Inc.’s $290 million investment at the Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

“There is a strong work ethic here,” said Hochul, a Buffalo native who spent much time in Genesee and surrounding counties during her days as a U.S. Congresswoman and New York State lieutenant governor. “I come from just a little bit down the road – the granddaughter of a steel worker in a steel plant; my dad worked in the steel plant. In Rochester, he worked at Eastman Kodak and many other jobs.

“People are used to working hard, and employers are recognizing it. This is in our DNA. This is what they will get when they come here and invest here. They’ll get the very best people.”

Hochul was joined by Andy Marsh, chief executive officer of the Latham-based Plug Power, which is set to construct a major green hydrogen fuel production plant and a 450-megawatt electric substation that will provide power to the entire STAMP site.

Officials from the New York Power Authority were also on hand at the Genesee County Economic Development Center-coordinate event, which drew around 100 people.

The NYPA board previously approved a 10,000-kilowatt hydropower provision along with $1.5 million in funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds program, and 143 MW of High-Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market, drastically lowering electric bills through a reduction in electricity delivery chargers.

Other speakers were State Sen. Edward Rath, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein and GCEDC Vice President of Operations Mark Masse.

A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

Hochul said that the location “is the place where the clean energy revolution is happening.”

She thanked officials at the NYPA for “harnessing the power of the Niagara River … and (being able to) spread that energy across the state – literally, spread the energy across the state.”

“To invest here and to send a message that this project is important enough to have your investment, but also to transfer electricity here and power here, and the conversion into green hydrogen. That’s not happening anywhere else; nowhere else are they being that creative,” she said.

She drew a round of applause when she said, “It’s happening here in Genesee County. And as a result, we’ll have North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility here in the State of New York, but right here in Genesee County.”

The governor said she was “so delighted” to be back home again as this county has special meaning to her.

“I heard Mark (Masse) say I was here a few times,” she said. “I was here a few times a week – to your candy stores and your shops and your restaurants and your downtown, and had the opportunity to talk about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and so many other transformative projects. So, when I come back home here it gives me the sense of not just (being) excited about what we’ve done in the past but the possibilities in the future. And, ladies and gentlemen, the future is starting today.”

THANKING THE 'EARLY VISIONARIES'

She credited “early visionaries” such as Steve Hyde, former Senator Mary Lou Rath, Assemblyman Steven Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein and local government officials.

“Thank you for never giving up, for always having the faith. Your persistence and patience has paid off. And that’s what today is all about.”

And she thanked Marsh for seeing the possibilities in Genesee County.

“It’s companies, it’s people and it’s also places, and this place has been crying out for an opportunity like this to show what it was really made out of,” she said. “And the location, I’ve always said this. This region is spectacular because of its proximity to two larger urban areas …”

Masse said interest in STAMP from corporate site selectors from the advanced manufacturing sector -- including semiconductor and clean energy -- has never been stronger.

“There’s a long queue of prospects constantly asking for information, meetings and visiting the site. Our region and our site are very suitable for companies such as Plug Power to succeed and make a lasting impact,” he said.

MASSE PROMOTES SHOVEL-READINESS

Noting that the region has 2.1 million people in a 60-mile radius with 57 colleges and universities – and 4,000 engineering graduates annually, Masse said, “The only thing holding us back now is the increasing of our capacities of existing infrastructure to make this site completely shovel-ready.”

“This would have the full water, sewer, electric at the property line for any company looking to locate here so they can move quickly to construct their facility and be up and running as soon as possible.”

Masse said he was hopeful that New York State will continue to make infrastructure investments to advance the shovel-readiness of mega-sites such as STAMP.

Marsh compared Plug Power’s expansion to George Westinghouse’s pioneering electrical network more than 100 years ago.

“Hydrogen is really important, and green hydrogen is especially important,” he said, adding that projections show that 18 percent of the world’s energy is going to come from hydrogen.

MARSH FORESEES ACCELERATION

“And right here in the field will be the first large-scale green hydrogen network, not only in New York, not only in the U.S., but around the world. Just like George Westinghouse did with electricity years and years ago.”

He called that “a great accelerator for this local economy and Plug Power believes, with its investments here, which we hope to continue to grow – with our investments in Rochester – we will see the same.”

Marsh, mentioning that Plug Power’s green hydrogen will power forklifts at several big companies, said that 25 percent of food during COVID moved through Plug Power products.

“It really made the world realize what Plug Power was doing. We were able to raise $5 billion in the public market, which supplements a lot that goes on with support in New York and other places,” he offered.

CLICK HERE for more about today's developments.

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Photo above: Gov. Kathy Hochul speaking at this morning's Plug Power groundbreaking event at WNY STAMP in the Town of Alabama. Photos below: Hochul and Plug Power CEO (center) and other regional and state officials take part in the ceremony; state, regional and local government leaders turned out for the event. Photos by Steve Ognibene.

September 28, 2020 - 10:44pm

The Batavia City Council is on board with a “bright idea” to convert the community-owned street lighting system to light-emitting diode (LED) technology and potentially cut costs substantially in the process.

At tonight’s Council meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Public Works Director Matt Worth presented the plan to contract with the New York Power Authority to purchase new street light fixtures for all 772 city-owned lights on the four arterial routes, emphasizing that the city could realize annual savings of $42,493.77 after paying off a 14-year loan.

The arterial roads are routes 5 (Main Street), 33 (Pearl Street), 63 (Ellicott Street) and 98 (Oak Street).

Noting that he and Water/Wastewater Superintendent Bill Davis have been working on this for almost two years, Worth said it would be best to start with the fixtures that are owned by the city.

“We’ve been looking at ways to be more efficient with the street lighting system,” Worth said, adding that the city owns the lights on the arterials while National Grid owns the lights on residential and side streets.

“We’ve looked at different methods to try to make it more efficient and less costly to the ratepayers, and what we’ve found is the Public Service Commission and some of the regulations you have to go through to try to obtain the utility-owned street lighting system or to depreciate it out so you can replace it with newer, higher efficient fixtures are somewhat – I don’t want to say convoluted, but it can be very difficult. There’s a little bit of lack of confidence in what that cost actually is and whether the city is receiving fair value to go that route.”

So, instead he proposes the city join forces with the NYPA, a nonprofit entity that operates the power grid across the state and also provides “low-cost energy solutions for municipalities along the way.”

He explained that the NYPA will change the fixture heads on the arterials, including decorative ones, to an LED bulbs – “so it won’t be the yellowish color of the high-pressure sodium to a less expensive power usage LED white light.

Worth said the cost of the project is $549,033.33 and would be paid off over 14 years. The city would save $3,277.12 each year over those 14 years, but after the debt is paid off, annual savings would jump to $42,493.77.

He said the city would have all new fixtures, lower operation and maintenance costs, better light quality and reduced energy consumption.

“The attractiveness of this program is NYPA really offers a turnkey program,” he said. “We are staffed so lean right now that is very difficult for us to dedicate time to hire contractors and to engage with the consultants to try to do this on our own. NYPA will engage the design professional and they will design the system. They have already estimated the cost.

“Most of the procurement contracts are already in place, so they know how much these fixtures are going to cost. So, they’re able to estimate this very tightly and have given us a very conservative estimate …”

Worth said he is confident in the project, and said NYPA will either extend or shorten the financing term depending upon the final cost.

“The idea is (the) cost of your street lighting system … remains as is until the financing is paid off and then you’ll receive a large savings,” he said. “But in the interim, you get the benefit of a whole brand-new street lighting system and the city isn’t maintaining older fixtures, replacing lamps, and the LEDs have a much longer life.”

Following his report, Council agreed to move to the Oct. 13 Business Meeting a resolution to execute an agreement with the NYPA in the amount of $549,033.33 for the replacement of the city-owned street lights with LED lighting.

Also moved to the Business Meeting for likely voting:

  • A resolution to transfer a foreclosed residence at 50 Oak St., to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation. The organization plans to invest between $58,000 and $62,000 to renovate the one-family house, which is assessed at $62,000. Council members Rose Mary Christian, Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Robert Bialkowski praised Habitat for Humanity for its continuing efforts to provide affordable housing in the city.
  • A resolution to schedule a public hearing on Oct. 26 to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages in I-1 industrial zones with a special use permit. This change stems from a January request by Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvement, to construct an auto service station on the Ellicott Street property. Worth said Council would be charged with voting it into a local law, with adoption expected to take place in December.
  • A resolution to take $5,000 out of the Facilities Reserve Fund to close out the City Centre roof alterations and replacement project that was performed by Grove Roofing Services. Worth said the project has been generally successful with the new roof area being water-tight and structurally improved. He said the cost of the project increased due to finding an additional 3,700 square feet of decking that needed to be replaced. He said that all of the roof has been repaired or replaced except the hallway in front of Dan’s Tire Service.
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