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Plug Power

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.

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October 16, 2021 - 12:12pm

Press release from Tonawanda Seneca Nation:

GENESEE COUNTY, New York — The Tonawanda Seneca Nation reached a settlement (with the Genesee County Economic Development Center) of a lawsuit seeking to stop Plug Power, Inc.’s construction of a facility that would anchor a manufacturing megasite, known as the STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park) site. In June, the Nation petitioned the New York State Supreme Court to stop the development of the Plug Power project adjacent to the Nation’s land in Genesee County, but a judge dismissed the case on procedural grounds last week. The STAMP site is adjacent to the Nation and within the Nation’s ancestral territory.

“We’re disappointed that the court didn’t have the opportunity to hear our arguments in this case,” said Kenith Jonathan, Sachem Chief for the Wolf Clan of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation and keeper of the Western Door. “We never got our day in court to explain how the project would diminish the Big Woods and have a negative impact on our Nation and our way of life.”

In its petition to the court, the Nation warned that the development would diminish the Big Woods, a pristine parcel of land that citizens of the Nation forage and hunt on, as they have for centuries. The Big Woods is a source of various traditional medicines important to the Nation’s culture and health. For centuries, the Tonawanda Seneca people have relied on the medicines, passing down that knowledge from generation to generation. Tonawanda Seneca citizens also play traditional games not far from the proposed Plug Power site. Citizens of the Nation voiced concern that the games would be disturbed by the traffic, noise and light pollution from the project.

“Make no mistake; we are opposed to developing a manufacturing megasite adjacent to pristine woods on undeveloped land,” said Chief Jonathan. “While we are disappointed that the construction will go forward, this settlement includes important protections to reduce the impact on our Nation and to protect our way of life. We are hopeful that the agreement can be the framework for a more collaborative relationship with GCEDC and Plug Power moving forward.” 

The settlement negotiated by the Nation will permanently protect from development over 200 acres of land on the STAMP site that is adjacent to the Nation’s territory. Plug Power, Inc. also is prohibited from using pesticides on the protected lands, which will further protect the environment. The Nation also will have cultural resource monitors onsite during earthmoving activities — to help identify and protect any unanticipated cultural resource discoveries.

October 9, 2021 - 10:12am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, GCEDC, Tonawanda Seneca Nation, Plug Power, wny stamp.

A lawsuit filed by the Tonawanda Seneca Nation challenging the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s State Environmental Quality Review determination in connection with the Plug Power, Inc., project has been dismissed by Genesee County Acting Supreme Court Justice Charles Zambito.

The nation contended that the liquid hydrogen facility, which is in line to become operational sometime next year at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama, would infringe upon its “Big Woods” sacred ground that is situated near the western end of STAMP.

As plaintiff in the legal action, the nation also sought to prove the GCEDC did not provide notification prior to the completion of the environmental review process.

Zambito, in his decision released on Sept. 28, ruled that the Seneca Nation failed to add Plug Power, Inc., as a defendant prior to the statute of limitations.

GCEDC reported its environmental impact determination on Feb. 4, giving the nation four months to amend its original suit of June 4 that listed only the GCEDC two top officers and board chair and vice chair as defendants.

The nation eventually added Plug Power, Inc., as a defendant on June 18 – two weeks after the deadline. Furthermore, it did so without “leave of the Court,” Zambito wrote, causing a delay in the amended petition’s filing until July 26.

In his analysis, Zambito wrote that “the proposed amended petition is untimely as it relates to Plug Power, Inc. (deemed a “necessary party”) and the individual GCEDC respondents. The motion to amend is denied accordingly and the amended petition is dismissed.”

He also dismissed the original petition for failure to include Plug Power, Inc., ruling that while the original petition was filed in a timely fashion, “the failure to join such a necessary party can result in the dismissal of the action.”

According to the GCEDC, 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.

The Latham-based company 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 GCEDC board of directors have approved the following incentives to Plug Power, Inc.:

  • Approved Property Tax Payments (Payment in Lieu of Taxes): $2.3 million per year, $46 million over 20 years.
  • Sales Tax Exemptions: $1.1 million.
  • Estimated Savings: $117.7 million property tax savings over 20 years if assessed at cost of construction ($232.7 million).
  • Anticipated assessment is much more likely to be $60-90 million. Payments of $2.3 million per year equate to a zero percent abatement on a $65 million assessment.
September 14, 2021 - 10:41am

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Press release:

The Buffalo and Rochester Building Trades Councils joined together this morning in the Town of Alabama to welcome Plug Power’s latest manufacturing plant to the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Construction of the $264 million plant in Genesee County is slated to begin Oct. 4. When completed the plant will produce "green hydrogen" for freight transportation and materials handling equipment.

Plug Power will become the first tenant of the STAMP campus, a 1,250-acre business park, in the town.

The Building Trades, representing 20,000 skilled trades people, are looking forward to working with Plug Power on this project as it will employ many craftspeople. When completed, the company also plans to create 62 full-time jobs with an average salary of $75,000, plus benefits.

To date, the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board recommended awarding $1.5 million to support this project. The New York Power Authority has the final say over awarding those funds.

The company is also seeking $2 million in support from Empire State Development, and a package of sales and property tax breaks through the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Through a process called electrolysis, the Plug Power plant will produce “green hydrogen” for fuel-cells used in transportation and material handling equipment.  This will be clean energy manufactured here in Western New York.

The Building Trades Councils represent 20,000 members in 18 construction unions in the Western NY region including :

Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Carpenters & Piledrivers, Cement Masons, Electricians, Elevator Constructors, Insulators, Ironworkers, Laborers, Millwrights, Operating Engineers, Painters, Plasterers, Plumbers & Pipefitters, Roofers, Sheetmetal Workers, Sprinkler Fitters and Teamsters.

Submitted photo from the WNY STAMP site this morning.

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September 1, 2021 - 1:00pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, wny stamp, samsung, Plug Power, Sen. Charles Schumer.

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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.

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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."

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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.

July 21, 2021 - 6:48pm

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers has yet to hear from government officials in the towns of Darien and Pembroke and Village of Corfu on whether they will be opting in to an updated countywide water supply agreement. But he is sticking to his timeline to enact a new sales tax distribution plan to all municipalities.

Landers, at this afternoon’s Genesee County Legislature Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse, presented a resolution that immediately (when passed by the full legislature) rescinds the county’s annual voluntary distribution payments. It also directs the county treasurer to discontinue all future such payments until further notice.

The measure passed and will be forwarded to the legislature’s next meeting, which is set for July 28.

Landers said the county made the first six monthly distribution payments this year but is changing course going forward – offering municipalities (with a deadline of Aug. 13), the following options:

  • With universal buy-in to revised water supply agreements, accept $10 million annually over the next 38 years, with the amounts per town or village determined by the total assessed property valuation;
  • Without universal buy-in, accept $7 million in annual sales tax distributions and another $3 million in periodic revenue distribution over the next 38 years, minus equalization of water surcharge revenue to those municipalities not opting in.

Currently, Darien, Pembroke and Corfu have not signed the water agreements, although their town and village boards have scheduled meetings over the next couple weeks.

“The towns and villages are aware of this resolution (to rescind the agreement that was passed in 2020),” Landers told the committee.

On Monday, a draft of the new sales tax agreement – without any specific dollar amounts filled in -- was sent to the New York State Comptroller’s Office for review.

Landers has set Sept. 14 as the date to send the amended and signed agreement to the Comptroller for formal approval.

SHOOTING FOR A $1 MILLION GRANT

In other action, the Ways & Means Committee voted in favor of a resolution to hold a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Old County Courthouse to provide information regarding the application of funding from the Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 Response program in the amount of $1 million.

Landers explained that the money is targeted for assistance to small businesses in the county, those with 25 or fewer employees.

He said the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. will help facilitate the money, if received, to go toward programs such as job creation, equipment/furnishings for parklet-type outdoor dining locations, personal protective equipment, and air handling measures, telecommuting employment and related initiatives.

“We have 12 months to spend the money from the date of applying,” he said, adding that the GGLDC, Downtown Batavia Improvement District, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and other outlets will be promoting this heavily. “This is money beyond the $11 million that we received from the American Rescue Plan Act, and we still have that.”

Landers said the majority of the funds will be in the form of grants, with some to be allocated as loans.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” he added.

HCA WITH PLUG POWER IN THE WORKS

The committee also approved a resolution authorizing the county to enter into a Host Community Agreement with Gateway Hydrogen LLC, also known as Plug Power Inc., of Latham, which is planning to build a green hydrogen production facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

Landers reported that the county – as long as the proposed project goes through – would receive $366,000 annually for 20 years plus another $147,000 annually from a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement.

“This brings revenue to the county to be used for general operations without having negative tax cap implications as well as giving us the option of how to use it,” he said, adding that it is projected to start on Jan. 1, 2023.

Host Community Agreements or Host Benefit Agreements are legal contracts that benefit both the community and the developer of a project -- stipulating the benefits a developer agrees to fund or furnish, in exchange for community support of a project.

Benefits can include commitments to hire directly from a community, contributions to economic trust funds, local workforce training guarantees and more.

In this case, Landers said some of the funds could go toward a Niagara County connection that would increase the water supply to the northern region of the county, including around the STAMP site.

“This may be able to support the possible connection to Niagara County,” he said. “It’s basically gap water between Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Countywide Water Program.”

He also said he believes the Town of Alabama will be entering into a HCA with Plug Power.

The PILOT agreement will serve to lower the tax cap, which helps reduce the property tax rate, he said.

Previously: Genesee County leaders present plans to distribute $10 million in sales tax/other revenue to towns and villages

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June 26, 2021 - 9:07am

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A high-ranking official of the local industrial development agency that owns the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park says Plug Power’s investment in the Town of Alabama site will more than offset the loss in revenue caused by removing about 1,100 acres of mostly farmland from the tax rolls.

That official, Mark Masse, is senior vice president of operations for the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“I know that people get upset with farmland coming out of production but when you have projects like Plug Power that can give you a 10 to 25 times rate of return, that is a significant help – not only to the agricultural community but also your residents,” Masse said.

“We do not give money away. We do not give out bags of cash. That is what everybody seems to have a misconception about. We give an abatement, so they don’t pay the tax.”

Masse and Jim Krencik, the agency’s director of marketing and communications, sat down with The Batavian earlier this week at their Upstate Med & Tech Park office on R. Stephen Hawley Drive to talk about STAMP and the GCEDC’s other ventures.

According to Masse, the agency has acquired 25 parcels equating to 1,144 acres of STAMP’s total of 1,250 acres. He said the assessed value of those properties is about $3 million.

He said that based on 2020 tax rates, that comes to about $104,00 a year for all three taxing jurisdictions – the Town of Alabama, Oakfield-Alabama Central School and Genesee County.

“So, if you were to say that we owned all of those properties for the 10 years – which we didn’t, because we acquired them over time – so you couldn’t apply 10 years to all of them,” he said. “But if you did, that would just be about a million dollars in tax revenue lost over 10 years.”

‘A SIGNIFICANTLY BIGGER PAYBACK’

Masse said that pales in comparison to what Plug Power, the Latham-based producer of green hydrogen fuel cells, will be paying to those three entities as a result of agreeing to build a $232.7 million manufacturing plant and $53 million, 345/115 kilovolt electric power substation at STAMP.

“The Plug Power project will generate a significantly bigger payback than all of those combined,” he said. “So, that’s the big windfall, so to speak, for these municipalities. These are 20-year agreements we’re entering into for Plug Power and those payments are about $1.4 million a year to the taxing jurisdictions, compared to previously collecting only $104,000.”

The contract with Plug Power includes a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), community benefit agreement and community education agreement. Masse said those are classified together as a property tax and it is "additional revenue for the taxing jurisdictions being driven by the project.”

Directors of the GCEDC have approved $118.8 million in property tax ($117.7 million) and sales tax ($1.1 million) abatements for Plug Power.

Krencik said the incentives are based on Plug Power’s performance outlook, including a pledge to create 68 full-time jobs, with salaries and benefits equaling about $70,000 per job.

“When considering the company’s capital investment, job creation, initial investment and projected revenues, the estimate economic impact is $4.40 for every $1 of requested public investment,” he said. “Comparing that against all of our corporate taxpayers in Genesee County, aside from utilities (National Grid, National Fuel), when you look at a single-source business, such as a theme park or a manufacturer, this would make this project the largest single company taxpayer of all those in Genesee County.”

“Unlike when the land – mostly farmland -- was vacant and you had $104,000 in annual taxes, this $1.4 million that Plug Power is going to pay is on 30 acres,” Masse added. “So, that’s a significant rate of return that you see on these types of projects.”

KRENCIK: FOLLOWING THE MODEL

Plug Power is the first tenant at STAMP, which has sat dormant for many years. In 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Batavia to announce that 1366 Technologies, a solar wafer manufacturer based in Massachusetts, would be building a facility at STAMP but that deal eventually fell through.

Krencik said the GCEDC was following a model used by other municipalities – acquiring land and working to install necessary infrastructure to attract interest from mega-companies such as Plug Power.

He said he understands how inactivity at these large sites could lead to public dissatisfaction, while the lack of progress isn’t as evident at smaller manufacturing parks, such as the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park on East Main Street Road.

“That’s kind of been the model across all the towns – you typically see a shorter timeline on some of these things because they’re smaller projects, smaller sites, smaller infrastructure,” he explained. “In the case of an ag park, I don’t think you’d feel the same type of pressure where you may be thinking, ‘Is there a loss there?’

“There are acres in the ag parks that currently are not on the tax rolls, but, of course, you already see the benefit in Batavia where you have two very large operations that are significant contributors to the town, city schools and the county (HP Hood and Upstate Milk Cooperative).”

Masse agreed, adding that the GCEDC is running out of acreage, “but that’s a good problem to have.”

MASSE: FARMERS BEAR THE BURDEN

Getting back to STAMP, Masse said the GCEDC continues to pay the fire district fees on those properties as they are not tax exempt.

“So, the emergency fire support services are still being paid for all the properties that we own, with the tax based on the assessed values and fire district tax rate,” he said.

Masse also mentioned that many parcels zoned Agricultural receive property tax exemptions.

“Obviously, agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Genesee County and if you look at who bears the largest tax burden in the county it is farmers, because they own the majority of the land,” he said. “That’s why they try to give them some help with the ag exemption. They’ll scale them in over a time period.”

He brought up a municipal consumption study that was done in Amherst around a decade ago that showed that commercial enterprises consume about 80 cents in municipal services while residential consumes around $1.20 in municipal services.

“Everybody complains about these companies but, in the long run, they’re going to help subsidize the municipal services that the residents use more of,” he said. “That’s always our hope that we’re not only creating jobs but also creating additional tax base to alleviate the tax burden. Creating those jobs and having those people spend their money here … what they call the indirect and induced effect of that money being spent throughout your community.”

COMPANIES MUST MEET THEIR GOALS

Masse said companies’ economic impact projections are keys to determining if they qualify for tax incentives and the amount of those incentives.

“Firms are required in their applications to give us the number of full-time equivalent (jobs) that they believe will be created by their projects,” he said. “Back in October of 2015 or 2016, the law changed. Now, that job creation goal is put into our PILOT agreements and other agreements. If they do not achieve that, our board could consider cancelling their PILOT and making them claw back and basically, pay back the incentives that they took.”

He said the GCEDC tracks companies as long as they are receiving benefits and that the board of directors would likely would call in a company to find out why it didn’t reach its goals.

“So, for the 10 years of a PILOT, they are required to report to us their annual job numbers every year. We record them and input them into the New York State reporting system – PARIS (Public Authorities Reporting Information System),” he said. “It’s a public document that shows how many jobs were pledged and how many were created. Once the PILOT expires, the company is no longer required to report those jobs to us.”

Krencik credited Masse for staying in touch with the cities, towns and villages that usually initiate construction projects.

“Mark meets with the town, the school and the county folks more than I meet with members of my immediately family,” Krencik said. “He has kept that dialogue going. At the town board level, for example, that is a strong mode of communication.”  

STAMP DIVIDED INTO ‘DISTRICTS’

A look at the layout of STAMP reveals that it is divided into three “technology districts”:

  • Technology District 1 -- a 600-acre parcel in the northern portion dedicated to high-tech manufacturing, including semiconductor, renewable energy and other advanced industries;
  • Technology District 2 -- office, and research and development space;
  • Technology District 3- -- area geared toward retail support services.

Masse said the concept was to create blocks of three semiconductor chip “fabs” that would open six million square feet for production, accommodating 930 employees.

“We went through the required State Environmental Quality Review, with the full build-out (as such) that if it’s within those thresholds, we really don’t have to do more work,” he said. “When we proposed to rezone the property, that is an action under SEQR and any proposed changes have to comply with SEQR.”

He said that’s what the GCEDC did in 2010 and “that took the better part of two years to get through that process.”

POWER, GAS LINES ARE RIGHT THERE

Masse also said that the presence of the nearby dual 345kV power lines and a National Fuel Empire Pipeline, a 24-inch natural gas transmission line, was a major reason the Town of Alabama location was selected.

“The 345 kV power lines take power from the Niagara Falls power station and run it down to New York City. We did a system impact study that revealed we can pull down 450 megawatts off of those lines,” he said. “With that, we would construct a very large, about a 10-acre substation (on the site), that would be a 345 to 115 kV – it would step the voltage down.”

As previously stated, Plug Power is funding this substation at a cost of about $53 million. Both the Plug Power plant and the substation are expected to be operational by December 2022.

Plug Power, along with the 30 acres it purchased for the green hydrogen facility, has a right of first refusal for an adjoining 30 acres for the possibility of future expansion.

The GCEDC has no applications for other major manufacturers at this time, Masse said. A couple months ago, it was rumored that Samsung was interested in placing a semiconductor manufacturing plant at STAMP.

INCREASED INTEREST IN STAMP?

When asked if Plug Power’s pending move to STAMP has generated more interest in the site, Masse said he’s hopeful that other businesses will take note. He did, however, mention that the COVID-19 pandemic “has driven a lot of companies to take a hard look at where they’re sourcing their products from and where are they selling their products to.”

“COVID broke a lot of supply chain issues throughout the world,” he said. “I think we’ve seen that with shortages and price increases of a lot of things. A lot of companies are doing a reassessment, saying we don’t ever want to go through that again.”

As a result, Masse said that companies are looking to locate new facilities coming out of COVID-19.

“So, one of the nice things about the Plug Project is that timelines are crucial to these companies – time is money to them,” he offered. “That substation is a major piece of infrastructure. Having that in place will go a long way toward alleviating companies’ concerns about that being available. We have the force main of the sewer project under construction. The only real long lead time item left will be the water from Niagara County, and we are just completing our design and engineering on that as well.”

Masse said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

“A lot of people say, well, it’s been 10 years and all you have done is build a road. They don’t see the amount of soft work, so to speak, that is in my office in about 2,000 pages worth of documents of archaeological, environmental, phase one, phase two – all the design and engineering you have to do and all the regulatory agencies you have deal with. That takes time, and that’s what we have been working on very diligently,” he said.

The development of STAMP has been beneficial to Town of Alabama residents already, he said, in that they gained access to municipal water.

“If we had not done this, they could not afford to get municipal water,” he said. “They had failing wells. A lot of those people were spending $1,500, $2,000 a year on replacing equipment because the water was so bad. And because we were able to fund a significant portion of the water, the town was able to add on and they’re going to end up covering about 95 percent of town residents with public water.”

CORPORATE PARKS IN FULL SWING

The GCEDC has invested tens of millions of dollars in the STAMP project, likely more than anticipated, but Masse said he is confident that the agency’s track record of success in Genesee County will produce a similar outcome in the Town of Alabama.

“If you look at our corporate parks, they’re almost all full at this time,” he said. “It was 2007 when the Ag Park was started. You can see the success that we have had there.”

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is one of seven corporate parks owned by the GCEDC. Currently, HP Hood, Upstate Niagara and O-At-Ka Milk Products are running at high capacity and are expanding, Masse said.

The other corporate parks are as follows:

  • Le Roy Food & Tech Park in the Town of Le Roy: BioWorks has just signed to take 60 of the park’s 75 acres, and the Le Roy Town Board has set a public hearing for July 8 to consider rezoning neighboring parcels for expansion.

Word has it that Great Lakes Cheese, an Ohio-based manufacturer, has approached individual landowners with purchase offers. Masse said Great Lakes Cheese has yet to apply to the GCEDC for incentives.

“We do not have any applications from any companies for that location,” he said. “A lot of companies will go out and do due diligence on sites. We do not own the property. Whoever is talking with private landowners is between them.”

  • Apple Tree Acres, Bergen: Sixty-two percent of the acreage there is sold, with Liberty Pumps as the key tenant. Liberty Pumps is undergoing an expansion project as well.
  • Gateway I and Gateway II Corporate Park, on both sides of Route 98 near the Thruway exit: “All of those acres are spoken for,” Masse said.
  • Med Tech Center on R. Stephen Hawley Drive: The GCEDC has renovated 800 square feet of space in that building that is available for lease.
  • Buffalo East Tech Park in Pembroke: Artisan cheese maker Yancey’s Fancy has a new plant there and a couple smaller businesses are being proposed for that site.

Masse said he believes that the more the public knows about economic development projects, the perception that the GCEDC is just an administrator of corporate welfare will subside.

“We’ve tried to do public outreach sessions, but they were poorly attended,” he said. “However, all of our agency business is open to public viewing. From a transparency standpoint, we are as transparent an organization as you’re going to find. Everything is on our website. Our board meetings are recorded and they’re Zoomed. Everything we have is out there under public authorities law.”

----------------

SENECA NATION FILES SUIT

In a separate development, Masse said it is agency policy to not comment on any pending litigation.

Earlier this month, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Genesee County, disputing the GCEDC’s determination that the Plug Power project would have no negative effect on the nation’s “Big Woods” land that is situated on the western end of STAMP.

According to the lawsuit’s preliminary statement, the Seneca Nation considers that area “as a property of religious and cultural significance” and that the Plug Power siting would infringe upon those grounds. The plaintiff also contends that the GCEDC did not provide notification prior to the completion of the environmental review process.

stamp_1.jpg

Photo at top: Mark Masse, right, and Jim Krencik at the Genesee County Economic Development Center on R. Stephen Hawley Drive; Photo at bottom: A look at the WNY STAMP site, with the Plug Power project area "X'd out" just south of the Technology District 1 area highlighted in purple. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 11, 2021 - 12:42pm

Genesee County Planning Board members Thursday night, on their way to approving the site plan for the Plug Power Inc., green hydrogen facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama, were on the receiving end of an education about the company’s operation from its vice president of project development.

Plug Power, a publicly traded business based in Latham (outside of Albany), is primed to become the first tenant at STAMP – with plans to put up an 8,000-square-foot operations and maintenance building, a 40,000-square-foot electrolyzer building and a 68,000-square-foot compressor building on the Crosby Road tech park.

The company is the world’s largest producer of hydrogen fuel cells that power forklifts and heavy-duty freight and its facility to be located at STAMP will be the largest in North America.

“This is the largest green hydrogen facility in North America by a lot,” Brenor Brophy said. “It actually is the largest green liquid hydrogen facility in the world. So, it is a major step forward in the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Brophy took planners through the process of taking fresh water and electricity and turning that into hydrogen and oxygen. Plug Power had been making hydrogen cells for the warehouse and logistics industry and, last year, started making its own hydrogen.

“This is a green hydrogen product; fuel that is made from zero-carbon renewable energy,” Brophy said. “This is the hydroelectric energy from Niagara …”

He said Plug Power will harness renewable energy from the new substation that the company is building on the STAMP site – a facility that is large enough to power their entire park.

“We will take about half of that energy for our facility,” he said. “We take fresh water and electricity and we split it into hydrogen and oxygen. The only emission we have from this site is pure oxygen. We take that hydrogen gas and we cool it down to what I call biogenic temperature that turns it into a liquid.”

From there, tanker trucks will transport the liquid hydrogen to Plug Power customers all over the Northeast region.

Brophy said the firm’s customers include Walmart, Kroger’s, Amazon, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

He said the plant will produce 45 metric tons of hydrogen per day, with each truck holding about four and a half metric tons.

“So that means there will be approximately 10 trucks per day on average,” he said. “Not every truck is full leaving or (it could be) empty coming back, so it may be 10 to 12 trucks per day, which is quite low.”

Brophy called it a “beautiful site” on 30 acres. He said plans call for the placement of a row of trees along the front to obscure it from the road.

“It is a very important site,” he said. “We are absolutely delighted to be siting it in Western New York as a New York company. This is our first and biggest green hydrogen plant in what will be a national network.”

Planner Tom Schubmehl, who abstained from voting, was prepared with a list of questions about the project that focused on the following:

  • Start-up Date

Brophy said he expects “to finish commissioning” in late 2022 or early 2023.

  • Wastewater

Brophy said there are two components – the sanitary sewer needed for employees on site and discharge of leftover process water.

He said the number of employees on site is not large enough to support the construction of an actual wastewater treatment facility “so we will have a tank system there that will be approved by the DEC that we will have emptied out until such time as the wastewater treatment plant will require construction.”

“As far as what we call the process water … we will have the forced main that will discharge directly into Oak Orchard Creek and will require a permit from the (New York State) DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation).

  • Stormwater

Brophy said a stormwater retention pond is an allowable use in that area.

  • Reconstruction of Crosby Road

This will be done by the Genesee County Economic Development Center – a complete rebuild of the section from Stamp Drive south to the edge of Plug Power’s site. Also, a 12-inch water transmission main will be extended from Route 77 where it currently exists, down Stamp Drive and down Crosby Road to get to the Plug Power site.

  • Tanker Trucks (noting there is parking for 26)

​Brophy said those parked in the staging area will be empty so “when a driver shows up with an empty tanker we will have a full one waiting for them.”

  • Storage Steer

Brophy said that storage unit will hold a week of production.

“It’s a high-resilience network,” he said. “If one goes down, we can support other plants in the network from that. Our customers are folks like Walmart, Kroger or Amazon, and so we can never let that warehouse go down. Amazon can’t go down a week before Christmas so we aim for a really high-resilience network.”

  • Water Usage (noting the facility will use 280,000 gallons per day)

Schubmehl mentioned that Genesee County is calling for residents to conserve water this summer.

Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of operations, said there is capacity coming up the line from Pembroke and County Engineer Tim Hens has “put place markers in for projects and Plug Power’s project has been held in the county water, so to speak, as a placeholder for a couple of years now. So, it has been accounted for and is included in those numbers.”

He added that GCEDC is pursuing another water line from Niagara County that could bring in an additional 1.5 million gallons per day.

“But the 280,000 gallons … that has been reserved in capacity in all of the numbers that Tim has been working with,” he reiterated.

Schubmehl responded that he was puzzled by that strategy.

“I just hope that you understand how difficult that is to know that this is what has been held in reserve while county residents are being told not to water their lawns this week,” he said. “It just seems a little odd.”

Comments
June 9, 2021 - 8:23pm

plug.jpg

The Genesee County Planning Department is recommending approval of a site plan review submitted by Plug Power Inc., the Latham-based company specializing in the development of hydrogen fuel cells systems for applications such as heavy-duty freight and forklifts.

The referral is one of 15 on the agenda of the county planning board’s meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday via Zoom videoconferencing.

According to information provided to the planning department, the site plan to place the green hydrogen facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park includes three structures – an 8,000-square-foot operations and maintenance building, a 40,000-square-foot electrolyzer building and a 68,000-square-foot compressor building.

STAMP, located on Crosby Road in the Town of Alabama, is designated as a Technology (T-1) District.

Additional documentation indicates the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which owns STAMP, is in the final stages of closing the sale of 29.884 acres to be allocated to the Plug Power venture, which is being called Gateway Project.

The full environmental assessment form filled out by Plug Power reveals that construction will take place in two phases, with phase one to commence in March 2022 and phase 2 to be completed in June 2023.

It is projected that the company will use 280,000 gallons of water per day, with expected additional capacity from the construction of two new water lines. Company officials state that 70,500 gallons of wastewater will be generated each day. The grounds also will feature a stormwater management facility.

Approximately 16 tanker trucks will come to the facility each day on a reconstructed Crosby Road to provide a new access path. Construction is expected to take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Once complete, it will be a 24-hour operation.

Last Thursday, Genesee County Economic Development Center directors approved approximately $2.8 million in sales tax incentives related to the construction of the electrical substation.

The GCEDC reported that Plug Power is investing $232 million the company to build the facility, which is estimated to create 68 full-time jobs.

The company also is investing $55 million toward the construction a substation that will enable 100-percent renewable, reliable electricity at less than $0.035/kwh to future tenants in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid.

Other referrals of note:

  • Special use permit, area variance and site plan review for a Quicklee’s convenience store and four-pump fuel station island at the former Bob Evans Restaurant location in a Commercial (C-2) District at 204 Oak St. (Route 98) in the City of Batavia.

The area variance is necessary because the service station is 165 feet from a church (less than the minimum 500 feet) and the proposed number of parking spaces is 40 (less than the minimum 68).

Patricia Bittar, director of land development projects at WM Schutt Associates, filed the application, stating that the proposed project will take up 2,771 square feet for the convenience store and 1,000 square feet for a drive-thru restaurant.

The planning department recommends approval. The applicant also will have to go in front of the City Planning & Development Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals.

  • Site plan review for a 107,138-square-foot addition for warehousing and manufacturing to Liberty Pumps, 7000 Apple Tree Ave., Bergen

The planning department recommends approval with modifications pertaining to stormwater prevention and archaeological impact documentation.

  • As previously reported on The Batavian, a zoning map change request from the Le Roy Town Board to rezone seven parcels from Residential (R-2) to Light Industrial (I-2) District to expand the GCEDC-owned Le Roy Food & Tech Park on Route 19 ad Randall Road in the Town of Le Roy.

This action could open the door for Great Lakes Cheese of Hiram, Ohio, to build a $500 million processing plant at the site.

The planning department recommends approval since the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the Town of Le Roy in 2017 identifies this area in its Future Land Use Plan as Agriculture and adjacent to Industrial.

  • Zoning text amendments from the Oakfield Town Board for the entire Town of Oakfield to allow major solar collection systems to the Land Conservation (LC) and Agricultural-Residential (AR) Districts and to add public and private utilities to the LC District.

The towns of Oakfield and Elba are gearing up for the proposed construction of a 500-megawatt solar farm by Hecate Energy, which today announced that is has filed an application with the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting.

If approved and constructed, the Cider Solar Farm would be the largest solar project ever built in New York State.

Hecate Energy’s press release indicated that the $500 million private infrastructure investment is expected to create moe than 500 construction jobs and will be capable of supplying 920,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year – enough to power more than 120,000 average New York households.

The planning department is recommending approval.

  • A special use permit for Chad Downs, 1300 McVean Road, Darien, to place a pest control business in his home, which sits in a Low Density Residential (LDR) District.

The planning department recommends approval with the modification that the storage and disposal of herbicides, pesticides and other hazardous materials must be conducted in accordance with applicable State and Federal regulations.

Architect's rendering at top: 3D view of the Plug Power facility to go at WNY STAMP. The rectangle building at the front is the compressor building and the long building behind it is the electrolyzer building. The operations and maintenance building is the smaller structure at right.

Comments
March 31, 2021 - 2:36pm

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees’ decision Tuesday to allocate low-cost hydropower and funding to Plug Power’s expansion project at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park is another vital step in the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s efforts to promote the 1,250-acre mega site in the Town of Alabama.

That’s the way Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and chief executive officer, sees it after learning that the NYPA board approved a 10,000-kilowatt hydropower provision along with $1.5 million in funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds program.

Plug Power, based in Latham, will be investing $290 million on the construction of a green hydrogen fuel production plant and a 450-megawatt electric substation to serve the STAMP complex.

“Funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds program and the allocation of low cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project are critical components to Plug Power’s $290 million investment at the STAMP site,” Hyde said.

“The collaboration among NYPA, National Grid and Plug Power to build a 345-115kv electrical substation, which will allow access to 100-percent renewable and reliable low-cost power, will provide our agency a significant advantage in our marketing and promotional efforts on behalf of STAMP against other sites nationally and globally.”

Hyde said he was “extremely grateful” for NYPA’s support of the project, which reportedly will create 68 jobs and produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the NYPA board approved economic development awards to 23 entities that will support 2,292 jobs across the state — with 870 jobs being newly created — and spur more than $580 million in private capital investments.

Eighteen operations are receiving awards through ReCharge NY energy allocations, while the remaining five are receiving Niagara hydropower allocations and funding awards to enterprises in Western New York.

Included among the awards is a 5,100-kW power allocation to Plug Power for its expansion project in Monroe County that will create nearly 380 jobs.

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 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 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.

Comments
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 - 6:23pm

Press release from Gov. Cuomo:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that leading alternative energy technology provider Plug Power will invest $290 million in the construction of a state-of-the-art green hydrogen fuel production facility and electric substation at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park located in the Town of Alabama, Genesee County.

The Plug Power project is the first build at the STAMP site and will require that the company fund the construction of a 450-megawatt electric substation to support its expansion as well as future growth opportunities at the business park. Plug Power has additionally committed to creating 68 jobs at the new production facility, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily.

The firm's commitment to develop its new green hydrogen fuel production facility in New York is the result of a comprehensive state and local incentive package from the New York Power Authority, Empire State Development and Genesee County. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin this summer.  

"New York State is committed to establishing itself as the leader in the national effort toward a more renewable future focused on green energy excellence, and we're showing that protecting the environment and encouraging economic growth aren't mutually exclusive," Governor Cuomo said. "We are incredibly proud to partner with Plug Power once again and applaud the company's continued investment in the Finger Lakes Region and to its commitment to creating top-quality green jobs as we work to foster new investment and job growth during a difficult economic time for many New Yorkers."

"Not only does today's announcement mean more advanced manufacturing jobs in Genesee County, but we are also investing in a cleaner, greener future for New York State," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Through the support of New York State, Plug Power, a leading alternative energy technology provider, will develop a new green hydrogen fuel production facility. We are proud to partner with companies like Plug Power that are building on our efforts to keep our state ahead of the curve and create a green economy." 

The state incentives directly support the Governor's ambitious Green Energy program—the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation—which will spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy, enough to power six million homes. The investments will not only help shift the state toward a carbon neutral economy, fulfilling the goals of New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, but also spur economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NYPA's incentives, which are subject to approval by the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees next month, will mark the first NYPA customer approved for economic development incentives under the Power Authority's new green jobs criteria, announced by the Governor in December. The Governor is recommending that the NYPA board approve these incentives:

  • 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.

Empire State Development will provide up to $2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Genesee County will provide additional local tax incentives, pending various approvals by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Plug Power's forward-thinking innovation and ongoing commitment to New York State are helping to advance Governor Cuomo's clean energy vision. This hydrogen fuel manufacturing facility at the STAMP mega-site will strengthen New York's green economy by creating top quality, high-tech manufacturing jobs." 

Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said, "The state's clean energy economy is growing rapidly under the Governor's leadership and Plug Power is seizing the plentiful opportunities for green energy companies to expand and flourish in New York. Leveraging NYPA's carbon-free hydropower from the Niagara Power Project to attract a firm dedicated to the development of green hydrogen for fuel cell applications is an example of how we should address the climate crisis."

The Plug Power expansion is part of a focused strategy to construct up to seven hydrogen production facilities across North America by 2022. In January, the Governor announced that Plug Power will be establishing a $125 million Innovation Center in Monroe County, creating 377 new jobs. That facility will manufacture hydrogen fuel cell stacks for its ProGen hydrogen fuel cell engines used to power a variety of electric vehicles, including material handling equipment, on-road commercial fleet vehicles, and drones. The company also operates a facility in Rochester's Eastman Business Park and maintains its headquarters in the Capital Region. 

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. Many thanks to the leaders of New York State for their continued support including Senator Schumer, Governor Cuomo, and many from Empire State Development, Genesee County Economic Development Center, and others." 

STAMP is a 1,250-acre mega site located at the center of Upstate New York's largest population, research, and workforce training hubs. Connected with New York's high-tech corridor by New York State Thruway, STAMP has completed all site-level design and engineering, and all-site level environmental and zoning approvals to house projects including semiconductor manufacturing, renewables manufacturing, biopharma manufacturing, and other high-capacity industries.

The mega site is strategically located in NYPA's low-cost hydropower zone and will be serviced by high-capacity, 100-percent renewable, reliable power sources. STAMP has been validated as a regional priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and has been supported by local, regional, and state governments, as well as business, university, and utility partners. 

Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde said, "Efforts by New York State to invest in a mega-site such as STAMP in collaboration with Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the New York Power Authority, have resulted in a significant interest among advanced manufacturing companies across the globe at STAMP and Genesee County.

"The economic benefits of this proposed development at STAMP also underscores how this project contributes to New York State's leading role in mitigating climate change, as Plug Power is an international leader in manufacturing clean hydrogen which can significantly reduce air emissions and in the process create good-paying jobs for our community and region."

Low-cost Niagara hydropower is available for companies within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Power Project or businesses in Chautauqua County. Niagara hydropower is linked to tens of thousands of existing jobs in the region. The NYPA funding award is made possible through net earnings resulting from the sale of unused hydropower generated at NYPA's Niagara power plant and stems from power proceeds legislation signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2012.

Alabama Town Supervisor Robert Crossen said, "I am encouraged by the interest that various advanced manufacturing companies, including Plug Power have in the Town of Alabama and STAMP. We have worked very hard to bring forward a site suitable for a project of this scale, and we look forward to achieving the important steps to develop and advance this project in our community."

Greater Rochester Enterprise President and CEO Matt Hurlbutt said, "Plug Power plans to establish a hydrogen generation facility at the STAMP mega-site in Genesee County because of its unique infrastructure, including low-cost, clean hydropower. The power generated at this new facility will also support Plug Power's Giga factory in Rochester."

Bob Duffy, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Committee Co-Chair, said, “We are thrilled that Plug Power has chosen the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site for their hydrogen fuel production facility and electric substation. The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has been proud to support STAMP as a regional priority, and we commend Steve Hyde from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Genesee County leadership for their work in positioning the site as a viable location for largescale projects. Greater Rochester Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with CEO Andy Marsh and the Plug Power team to ensure their ongoing success and growth in the Finger Lakes Region and beyond.

From the Plug Power website:

Plug Power is building the hydrogen economy as the leading provider of comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions. The Company’s innovative technology powers electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells amid an ongoing paradigm shift in the power, energy, and transportation industries to address climate change and energy security, while meeting sustainability goals.

Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology. As a result, the Company has deployed over 40,000 fuel cell systems for e-mobility, more than anyone else in the world, and has become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen, having built and operated a hydrogen highway across North America.

Plug Power delivers a significant value proposition to end-customers, including meaningful environmental benefits, efficiency gains, fast fueling, and lower operational costs. Plug Power’s vertically-integrated GenKey solution ties together all critical elements to power, fuel, and provide service to customers such as Amazon, BMW, The Southern Company, Carrefour, and Walmart.

The Company is now leveraging its know-how, modular product architecture and foundational customers to rapidly expand into other key markets including zero-emission on-road vehicles, robotics, and data centers. Learn more at www.plugpower.com.

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.
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