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Masse touts experience, strong relationships as he begins tenure as GCEDC president/CEO

By Mike Pettinella
Mark Masse

Earlier this week, the Genesee County Economic Development Center issued a press release on the promotion of Batavia resident Mark Masse from senior vice president of operations to president and chief executive officer.

Masse, 51, (in file photo at right) is a lifelong Genesee County resident, growing up in Stafford, graduating from Le Roy Central School and spending some of his spare time at Adam Miller Toys & Bicycle on Center Street in Batavia – a business started by his grandfather and later owned by his mother, Joyce, and uncle, Gary Miller.

An avid golfer and bowler, Masse joined the Polish Falcons leagues in both sports in 1995 and has been participating ever since. The start of his 30th year in the bowling league will be delayed a bit, however, due to a scheduled hip replacement in October.

He has a daughter, Grace, and 6-month-old granddaughter, Kennedy, and a son, Jack.

Masse is a certified public account who worked for Freed, Maxick & Battaglia for 15 years before being hired by the GCEDC. 

On Thursday afternoon, Masse sat down with The Batavian to talk about his expanded role with the agency, which will be official on Aug. 1. He succeeds Steve Hyde, who guided the organization as president and CEO for the past 21 years.

Q. You’re succeeding Steve Hyde in the lead role with the agency. Is that something that you had been discussing with Steve after he announced his retirement last month?

A. I think it was just a natural progression, to be honest. When I started here, the position was created to help Steve with the number of projects that we had ongoing and STAMP (Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama) was just getting off the ground at the time. Over the years, it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing and I learned a lot from Steve. When it came time for him to retire, I was here with the right kind of experience and knowledge to be able to hopefully step in and continue on what he had started.

Q. Your title was senior vice president of operations. Have there been any other changes now in (employees’) titles. Has anyone moved into the VP/Operations position?

A. No other changes at this point in time but that’s not to say there couldn’t be some in the future. But for now, no.

Q. Steve Hyde has left a big imprint on this corporation with everything that he has done over the years, not just with the STAMP site but throughout the county. You have big shoes to fill. What are your thoughts about trying to fill those shoes and do you have specific things that you’re looking to do?

A. Obviously, we want to continue the momentum we've had in the past … such as our corporate business parks that are almost full. We’ll be starting to look at some other future parks. But we do face some significant challenges, especially the water capacities in the county and it’s no secret. That’s a large issue that the county is diligently working on, but it could be a few years before we get those capacities. I think the electric grid is seeing significant challenges as well --with the shutdown of fossil fuels -- and alternative energy generation projects coming on. We’re running into a lot of issues with capacities on the utility lines. We want to develop a few more corporate business parks but until some of those capacity issues get addressed, it's going to be difficult. But fortunately, we have STAMP that we can continue to work on and can continue to attract tenants to and build out.

Q. Now that you brought up STAMP, you’ve had some legal issues there with trying to push wastewater to Oak Orchard Creek (in Orleans County). Where does that stand now and do you feel that you will be resolving that issue?

A. So, one of the lawsuits was resolved, the one with Orleans County on the article 78, that was ruled in our favor. The eminent domain one was heard on April 16. And we're waiting to hear back on that. I think there are opportunities to come back together and discuss things and try and work things out. Ultimately, we are also looking at other options; we have to look at other alternatives that might be available to us. I'm confident one way or another, we'll figure out a solution. One of the things that we've always done is we've been able to figure out a way to get things done. And I think that's emphatic of what Genesee County is, right? We're resilient. We're determined, and to some extent, we're all a little stubborn.

Q. How is the agency’s relationship with Orleans County? Has it been hampered or hurt because of this Oak Orchard Creek issue? Do other alternatives include working with the Town of Oakfield?

A. We are looking at a short-term solution, potentially for sanitary sewer to go the Oakfield treatment plant. I don't want to say that, you know, Orleans County relations are hurt. I mean, people, neighbors fight all the time, siblings fight all the time. And I think that after some time, after we've had a chance to kind of settle down, I think there's an opportunity to get back together and see if we can work it out.

Q. One of the criticisms you hear on social media, from the so-called experts, is that the GCEDC just hands out money. Those who cover the GCEDC know that there’s a formula involved (for determining tax abatements), but how to you fight and overcome that perception?

A. One thing that we always try to do is meet with our stakeholders as much as we can and we try and explain the process. I present to the Leadership Genesee class every year about who we are, what we do, and my three top slides that are we don't give out money. So, it's an abatement and I don't think people truly understand how that works. They feel like we're subsidizing a company. But if you look at the way tax rates are and the municipal services that corporations draw versus municipal services that residents draw, corporations are generally around 70 cents or so let's say out of $1 for services while residences are like $1.20. So, even if a corporation comes in -- number one, the fire district fees are never abated, those are always paid 100 percent. So those corporations are helping to offset those costs of services that municipalities offer that the residents use. It's not too often that those corporations draw down those services. The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenue that's being generated is usually significantly more than what the vacant land or the previous land was generating for those municipalities as well. Not to mention that you're creating jobs locally that those people are going to spend their money here; you've got a company that's going to buy from local companies or bring in other revenue from outside the community.

Q. Do you have a one-year, five-year, and 10-year strategic plans? What are some of the strategies going forward?

A. That’s a process that the board (of directors) is going to undertake and we (staff) will undertake with them. Shortly, we'll examine what's out there and see what land is available, where it would make sense to potentially look at another corporate business park and what other sectors we want to try and get involved in. I think one of the areas we've seen where there's a bit of a shortfall is in workforce training and workforce development. I think there's an untapped market for us to be able to assist our local ag farmers in trying to find some skill sets and trainings for some of their employees. A lot of what their employees do are the skilled trade work on a regular basis that we've seen a significant decline in over the years, and we're trying to get kids excited about and get back into.

Q. The GCEDC has been pretty active in the Pembroke area. Are there other areas in the county that are untapped, so to speak?

A. A lot of that is going to be driven by the location and the size and the capacities and the infrastructure that's there. Unfortunately, the majority of large scale water, large scale sewer and electric is generally around where the Thruway exits are. However, there is a significant need for single-family housing market rate apartments in our communities. And we've reached out to a few of the outlying communities about what opportunities might be there, if they've got areas identified for housing because that seems to be what they are interested in -- is trying to attract people. In the most recent census, I think Genesee County's lost like 1,500 people over the last couple of years. So, we aren't growing and we need to figure out a way to do that. And one of the keys is to have housing here for people.

(The GCEDC’s corporate park sites include Apple Tree Acres in Bergen; Buffalo East Tech Park in Pembroke; Gateway I & II, Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park and Upstate Medtech Park in the Town of Batavia; and Le Roy Food & Tech Park).

Q. Are you connected with the apartment complex that is going on next to you (on College Road)?

A. Yes, that’s a market rate apartment complex that a gentleman will be renting those units out. It’s called Medtech Landing. We did sell the land, obviously, that was part of our Medtech Park. We did incentivize that with a PILOT and sales tax and mortgage tax abatement on there as well. And then part of those funds are going to be used to fund our Batavia Home Fund, which will help with some programs within the City of Batavia for housing. We just recently had our first draw on that for a gentleman who replaced the roof on his house and got a grant from the Batavia Home Fund to cover 50 percent or 60 percent of the cost of replacing his roof.

Q. Speaking of the City of Batavia, there's a something sitting there called Ellicott Station, which has not been completed and could be considered as an embarrassment to the city. What is GCEDC’s role in getting tenants in there?

A. The GCEDC board terminated all of its benefits that were awarded to that -- the PILOT, the sales tax and mortgage tax.  I think our board's position is that unless it's going to be market rate., we don’t have a desire to participate in that project. Now, where it stands, I don't know. That's up to (Buffalo developer) Sam Savarino.  People have said there's been work on going out there. I don't really know what's going on. We haven't been contacted by anybody who's been interested in trying to acquire it and using our any of our incentives that we have.

Q. What do you feel your strengths are – things that you have already brought to the company – and what are some of the things you need to work on?

A. I definitely think I have an extensive background from accounting with a wide variety of businesses and learning how to interpret financial statements and how to work with a company and how to work with people. I do think that my people skills are good. You know, I think that people know that I care and know that I work hard. And I truly believe in what I'm doing here. And everybody here believes in what we're doing here and trying to move our county forward and make it a better place. Working with Steve, he's brought me along. So, I have a lot of those key relationships with stakeholders as well. We do need to work on things like public perception. I think there’s some messaging we can get out there. Not everybody's going to believe it. But I think there's opportunities out there to try … and engage people and provide that information.

Q. Getting back to STAMP, there was a big presentation by Senator Schumer a couple years ago about Plug Power coming there. Right now, the company’s stock has bottomed out and they just received a $1.66 billion conditional loan from the Department of Energy. Is Plug Power going to make it?

A. They’ve told us they have full intentions of finishing their project at the STAMP site. They have put it on pause temporarily. Beyond that, I think any other questions would be for them directly. I don't ever like to speak for a private company and what they've got going on. They've received incentives no different than most other companies. And we do have triggers in there similar to like with Savarino that if things were to go bad, that there are opportunities for us to not only cancel those, but potentially claw them back. But there's been nothing done to date that would lead us to go down that path. 

Q. Is there a company operational now at STAMP?

A. No, Edwards Vacuum has just broken ground and they're under construction. They’re in the semiconductor supply chain. They make dry vacuum pumps, which means there's no oil lubrication in the pumps at all. So they're used in the semiconductor industry in the sub floor to help regulate gases and clean the air within clean rooms. Basically, they're the premier pump manufacturer for most semiconductor manufacturers. These particular pumps were only made overseas. So, by building in the U.S., they're significant cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by locating closer to their potential customers and their current customers and to be able to truck those pumps to them. They intend to complete construction by June or July of next year. (Edwards Vacuum is owned by Atlas Copco, a worldwide company).

Q. Did you get a raise? It’s public knowledge. What is your salary?

A. (After a hearty laugh), It will be in the contract and I would prefer not to (disclose it now) but if you ask for it later, we’ll have to provide it.

(According to the GCEDC, Masse’s compensation in 2023 was $129,369, while Hyde earned $263,161. Masse said his new salary is less than what Hyde was making).

I’m very, very fortunate not only for the salary but the opportunity and the confidence that the board and our local communities have put in me and the people I work with put in me to be able to continue this going forward. 

DOE gives Plug Power conditional approval for $1.6 billion loan guarantee, terms to be negotiated

By Press Release
plug power WNY STAMP
File photo by Howard Owens


  • Plug Power is a New York-based company with headquarters in Lathan. It is a "green hydrogen" company, which means it uses renewable energy sources to convert water into hydrogen fuel, which can be stored in fuel tanks and sold to power vehicles and factory equipment.  
  • In its 20-year history, Plug Power has never turned a profit. It's annual revenue is currently about $800 million. In 2023, the company reported a $1.4 billion loss. 
  • Plug Power is building a $290 million hydrogen energy plant in WNY STAMP, the GCEDC-developed high-tech business park in Alabama. The plant is expected to employ 69 people with an average annual salary of more than $70,000. In exchange for the job creation, the company is anticipating $2 million in grants from New York State. 
  • The company received $118.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. Over the 20-year life of the property tax extensions, Plug Power will make payments in lieu of taxes totaling $2.3 million annually, which will be shared by Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama School District.  Each jurisdiction will also receive an increasing amount of property tax payments each year over the life of the agreement.
  • In March, the DOE awarded Plug Power grants totaling $75.7 million.
  • The DOE loan, if finalized, is expected to help Plug Power complete the WNY STAMP plant, along with five others in the nation, which is reportedly critical to the company generating the hydrogen fuel sales necessary to start achieving profits.
  • This phase of the loan guarantee process requires the DOE and Plug Power to negotiate a term sheet, which means "certain technical, legal, environmental and financial conditions, including negotiation of definitive financing documents, must be satisfied before funding of the loan guarantee" (company statement).

Press release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Energy announcing a conditional commitment to Plug Power for an up to $1.66 billion loan guarantee to supercharge American-led industry clean hydrogen production:

 “This $1.6 billion federal investment will supercharge Plug’s world-class workforce across Upstate New York as Plug builds new facilities across the nation, all powered by the equipment made in New York.  Green hydrogen has the potential to help us decarbonize some of the trickiest parts of our economy – from the industrial sector to marine shipping – and with the major federal investments through the Inflation Reduction Act I championed, Upstate NY is poised to lead the way in powering America’s clean energy future. From the electrolyzers made at Plug’s state-of-the-art Gigafactory in Henrietta, NY to the fuel cells manufactured at Plug’s Capital Region facility, this means new growth, new demand for Plug across Upstate NY. With federal investments like this we are unlocking the potential for green hydrogen to power America’s clean energy future, with Plug and Upstate NY leading the way.”

UPDATE, Press release from the Department of Energy:

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) announced a conditional commitment to Plug Power Inc.’s (Plug) subsidiary, Plug Power Energy Loan Borrower, LLC, for an up to $1.66 billion loan guarantee to help finance the construction of up to six facilities across several states to produce clean hydrogen utilizing the company’s own electrolyzer technology. Advancing clean hydrogen is a key component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to building a robust clean energy economy that creates healthier communities, strengthens energy security, and delivers new economic opportunities across the nation. Today’s announcement will help unlock the full potential of this versatile fuel and support the growth of strong, American-led industry that ensures the United States remains at the forefront of the global economy for generations to come.

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to create good-paying, high-quality job opportunities for American workers, this loan guarantee, if finalized, will support an estimated 100-300 jobs during the construction period when at full capacity, and at least 50 new full-time jobs for each location. Together with the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, and ongoing research, development, and demonstration in the DOE Hydrogen Program, this announcement will help strengthen local economies, create and maintain high-quality jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors critical to meeting U.S. net-zero goals, and enhance America’s manufacturing and industrial competitiveness.

Plug has a development pipeline that includes the build-out of clean hydrogen facilities in several potential locations across the United States to supply its national customer base with end-to-end clean hydrogen at scale. This conditional commitment advances President Biden’s efforts to strengthen domestic clean energy supply chains, which are essential to meeting the nation’s ambitious climate goals and enhancing our national and energy security. If finalized, the project will support an integrated and resilient commercial scale clean hydrogen fueling network across several regions of the United States.

The hydrogen fuel from the project is expected to power fuel cell-electric vehicles used in the material handling, transportation, and industrial sectors, resulting in an estimated 84% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional hydrogen production, which derives hydrogen from natural gas (CH4) and ultimately produces carbon dioxide (CO2).  The benefits of harnessing hydrogen fuel cells in applications such as material handling equipment include enhanced operational efficiency, reduced environmental impact through zero-emission operations, and increased productivity due to faster refueling times compared to conventional batteries. Major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot use Plug’s hydrogen fuel cells across their warehouse and distribution centers.

The clean hydrogen facilities will utilize Plug’s electrolyzer stacks that are manufactured at the company’s state-of-the-art gigafactory in Rochester, NY, and will use modular designs to ensure a resilient hydrogen fuel delivery network. Plug is among the leading commercial-scale manufacturers of electrolyzers in the United States and currently operates the largest Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer system in the United States at its Georgia hydrogen plant. 

Electrolyzers use electricity to split water into its component parts, hydrogen and oxygen. Plug’s PEM technology allows it to operate efficiently even with variable electricity, enabling it to leverage electricity from intermittent renewables. Electrolyzers that use renewables to power their hydrogen production produce emissions-free clean hydrogen. The electrolyzer stacks can be easily configured to produce systems at 1 megawatt (MW), 5 MW, and 10 MW scales. (One MW powers the equivalent of 750 American homes based on their instantaneous demand.)

Plug is expected to develop and ultimately implement a strong Community Benefits Plan for each project and has committed to working with local communities for project siting, including soliciting input from local economic development corporations. In particular, Plug will initiate a community outreach program dedicated to promoting awareness, understanding, and utilization of hydrogen as a clean and sustainable energy source, which aims to engage and empower communities by providing educational resources, interactive activities, and collaborative initiatives that highlight the benefits and potential applications of hydrogen technology. Plug employs local workforce development strategies and programs that leverage the comprehensive suite of services offered by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s network of One-Stop Career Centers, including the development of apprenticeship programs for operations jobs.  

LPO works with all borrowers to create good-paying jobs with strong labor standards from construction through the life of the loan. Plug also supports President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40% of overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

This announcement is part of a broader suite of actions LPO has taken in line with the President’s Investing in America agenda, which is growing the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out—from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. Leveraging loan authority from the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, LPO is spurring billions in public-private investments to boost the nation’s competitiveness, strengthen supply chains, and create good-paying jobs to power the clean energy economy. 

The financing would be offered through LPO’s Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, which includes financing opportunities for innovative energy and supply chain projects like Plug’s, certain state-supported projects, and projects that reinvest in existing energy infrastructure.

While this conditional commitment indicates DOE’s intent to finance the project, the company must satisfy certain technical, legal, environmental, and financial conditions before the Department enters into definitive financing documents and funds the loan guarantee.

Learn more about the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, the Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Clean Hydrogen report, and how the DOE Hydrogen Program and Hydrogen Interagency Task Force are supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s all-of-government strategy to addressing the climate crisis and delivering a clean and equitable energy future for all.

UPDATE, Press release from Plug Power: 

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), a global leader in comprehensive hydrogen solutions for the green hydrogen economy, received a conditional commitment for an up to $1.66 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Loan Programs Office (“LPO”) to finance the development, construction, and ownership of up to six green hydrogen production facilities.

The production facilities, which will be selected for financing in accordance with procedures to be set forth in definitive documentation with DOE, will be built across the nation and supply major companies, including Plug’s existing customers, with low-carbon, made-in-America green hydrogen. The hydrogen generated will be used in applications in the material handling, transportation, and industrial sectors.

“Green hydrogen is an essential driver of industrial decarbonization in the United States,” said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. “Earlier this year, Plug successfully demonstrated our innovation and technical ability by launching the first commercial-scale green hydrogen plant in the country in Woodbine, Georgia. This loan guarantee will help us build on that success with additional green hydrogen plants.”

Marsh added, “We appreciate the partnership with the DOE Loan Programs Office and are pleased to have worked through an intensive due diligence process. The loan guarantee will prove instrumental to grow and scale not only Plug’s green hydrogen plant network, but the clean hydrogen industry in the United States.”

​Plug, the leading commercial-scale manufacturer of electrolyzers, currently operates the largest proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer system in the United States at its Woodbine, Ga., hydrogen plant. Plug’s current green hydrogen generation network now has a liquid hydrogen production capacity of approximately 25 tons per day.

Plug’s green hydrogen production plants utilize the company’s own electrolyzer stacks manufactured at its state-of-the-art gigafactory in Rochester, NY, and Plug’s liquefaction and hydrogen storage systems engineered at its facility in Houston.

DOE’s support for Plug’s green hydrogen projects represents a major milestone in the U.S.’s commitment to advance the development of large-scale hydrogen production, processing, delivery, and storage. It also underscores the application of green hydrogen to help meet decarbonization goals across multiple sectors of the economy.

While this conditional commitment represents a significant milestone and demonstrates the DOE’s intent to finance the project, certain technical, legal, environmental and financial conditions, including negotiation of definitive financing documents, must be satisfied before funding of the loan guarantee.

LPO works in support of President Biden’s ambitions to drive growth in US manufacturing and innovation, create jobs, and build a clean energy economy that will address climate change and make communities more resilient.

Plug’s projects under the loan will adhere to the Biden Administration’s Justice 40 Initiative. This process includes gathering input from local labor, workforce, and economic development organizations in addition to first responder and non-profit organizations. The plants are expected to create good-paying jobs accessible to a diverse talent supply and help develop workforce skills needed to drive the transition to a clean energy economy.

LPO’s Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, which supports innovative energy and supply chain projects and projects that reinvest in existing energy infrastructure, will provide the financing to Plug.

For prior Plug Power coverage, click here.

Plug Power awarded $76M from DOE, still awaiting word on loan, reports record revenue but still no profits

By Howard B. Owens
plug power WNY STAMP
File photo of Plug Power facility under construction at WNY STAMP.
By Howard Owens.

The Department of Energy has awarded grants totaling $75.7 million to Plug Power, the Latham-based green hydrogen power company currently constructing a production facility in WNY STAMP in the town of Alabama.

The funds are part of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill approved by Congress and President Joe Biden in 2021 and are intended to help with research and development of hydrogen fuel production.

The company has also applied for a $1.6 billion low-interest loan from the DOE. That loan is apparently still under consideration.

Plug Power is betting that hydrogen power will become a big winner in the race to develop clean, renewable energy to sustain the economy and protect the environment in the coming decades. The Latham-based company specializes in "green hydrogen," which is the generation of hydrogen fuel using renewable energy sources such as solar and hydropower. An apparent attraction of WNY STAMP is the ability at that location to tap into hydropower generated by Niagara Falls.

Plug Power aims to provide customers with fuel cells, electrolyzers (splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen), to liquid hydrogen fuel. Plug Power wants to provide distribution, delivery, and services and foresees a future for hydrogen that includes uses such as long-haul trucking.

Plug Power's executives have set ambitious goals -- producing 2,000 tons of hydrogen daily by 2030. At that rate, the company hopes to generate $20 billion in annual revenue at that point with a profit margin of at least 30 percent.  

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law is helping supercharge Upstate NY’s clean hydrogen sector. With this federal funding, Plug Power and other cutting-edge companies will be able to increase production capacity and spark new innovation to reach the next frontier of clean hydrogen manufacturing and research, all while supporting good-paying clean energy jobs and boosting the fight against climate change,” said, Sen. Charles Schumer. “Clean green hydrogen is one of the most exciting forms of new energy production, and with the major federal investments being made thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act I championed, Upstate NY is poised to lead the way in powering America’s clean energy future.”

The grants are divided into two components.

The company will receive $45.7 million for the following project description:

The goal of this project is to establish and implement automation capabilities within our high-performance PEM stack manufacturing facility in Rochester, New York capable of producing 5,000 1 MW stacks per year.

This project will scale up manufacturing of proton exchange membrane electrolyzer stacks to the multi-GW scale, driving down costs to meet DOE targets. This project will automate membrane electrode assembly fabrication and stack assembly and enable automated inspection with machine learning to accelerate factory acceptance testing.

The project description for the second grant, $30 million:

This project will demonstrate a production pathway to meet a projected 2030 system cost of $80/kW for 100,000 heavy-duty fuel cell systems per year and automate the manufacturing of high-performance, low-defect membrane electrode assemblies in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Lab.

The project will demonstrate an innovative expansion of their current manufacturing line.

“We are very appreciative and excited about the DOE's clean energy manufacturing initiatives and their profound impact on propelling Plug's industry-leading manufacturing capabilities in fuel cell and electrolyzer MEAs (Membrane Electrode Assemblies) and stacks," said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug. “Congress enacted these policies to advance hydrogen and fuel cells as vital components of the United States’ climate strategy.  This funding will advance Plug’s fuel cell and electrolyzer manufacturing capabilities, create good paying jobs in New York, and fortify the region’s leadership in the national clean energy transition.”

The company selected WNY STAMP for the construction of a liquid hydrogen plant in February 2021.  The plant will cost more than $290 million to complete. 

Plug Power expects to generate 74 tons per day of liquid hydrogen at its WNY STAMP plant. The company recently opened two new production facilities in Georgia and Tennessee, and the WNY STAMP plant is expected to open in early 2025.

Empire State Development is scheduled to pay up to $2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for the creation of 68 jobs at the plant, or about $2,941 per job per year over 10 years. Plug Power is not eligible to receive the tax credits until the jobs are filled. The average starting salary is expected to be approximately $70,000 plus benefits.

As part of the project, Plug Power agreed to invest $55 million in a 450-megawatt electrical substation that will make electricity available to other WNY STAMP tenants.

The company received $118.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. Over the 20-year life of the property tax extensions, Plug Power will make payments in lieu of taxes totaling $2.3 million annually, which will be shared by Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama School District.  Each jurisdiction will also receive an increasing amount of property tax payments each year over the life of the agreement.

In accordance with Security and Exchange Commission Rules, Plug Power disclosed in November that a shortage of cash threatened its ability to remain a "going concern" within the following 12 months.  It suggested it could raise more cash by selling stock and that the company expected to receive a sizable loan from the Department of Energy.

Since then, Plug Power authorized B. Riley Securities to offer additional public shares of the company for sale at market rate with the goal of raising an additional $1 billion in capital.  That agreement was announced in January.  Since then, it has reportedly sold 77,417,069 new shares of stock, raising more than $300 million in cash. The company is continuing to sell new shares with a goal of selling another $700 million in 2024.

On Monday morning, the company announced its fourth quarter 2023 results and that it has removed its "going concern" guidance, stating, "The Company has determined it has sufficient cash on hand coupled with available liquidity to fund its ongoing operations for the foreseeable future."

It also announced record revenue of $891 million for the year, a 27% increase over the prior year.

However, the company continues to lose money and has never turned a profit, which, 25 years into its existence, continues to spook investors. After the Q4 report was released on Monday, the price per share of the company's stock dropped 17 cents and closed at $3.37. It hasn't traded above $5 since November. In early 2021, it was trading for more than $60 a share.

For previous Plug Power coverage, click here.

Facing challenges and skeptics, Plug Power officials say new plant expected to begin production in 2025

By Howard B. Owens
plug power WNY STAMP
Plug Power in WNY STAMP.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The company's share price hasn't risen above $5 in four months after executives informed investors that it is facing a cash flow problem, and while it has made progress on improving its cash holdings and has increased production at plants in Tennessee and Georgia, there are stock analysts downgrading Plug Power as an investment opportunity. 

Even so, Plug Power's leadership indicates the company is plowing ahead with plans to build the nation's leading fully integrated hydrogen power supply company -- a revolution in alternative energy production if Plug Power can pull it off.

One component of that plan is the completion of a hydrogen fuel production facility and electric substation at WNY STAMP, and officials with the company say the project remains on course for production to begin in the first half of 2025.

In collaboration with the New York Power Authority and National Grid, Plug Power expects to achieve its full capacity of 74 tons per day of liquid hydrogen production within that time frame.

"At this point, the majority of the work on-site to date has been laid underground to support the incoming power, drainage, and water management demands of a functional green hydrogen plant," officials said in a statement to The Batavian.

In accordance with Security and Exchange Commission Rules, Plug Power disclosed in November that a shortage of cash threatened its ability to remain a "going concern" within the following 12 months.  It suggested it could raise more cash by selling stock and that the company expected to receive a sizable loan from the Department of Energy.

Since then, Plug Power authorized B. Riley Securities to offer additional public shares of the company for sale at market rate with the goal of raising an additional $1 billion in capital.  That agreement was announced in January.  There has been no news released on how that sale has proceeded.

Also, in January, Plug Power secured a $1.6 billion loan from the Department of Energy to help it complete six liquid hydrogen facilities (including, presumably, the facility at WNY STAMP).  Plug Power is expected to receive the funds later this year. CORRECTION: Contrary to the news article cited, the loan has not been finalized, but according to a company representative, the company took another step in the due diligence process toward finalizing the loan.  The representative said that Plug Power is at Step 3 of the process in the charge on this page.

Buffalo-based Investigative Post reported on Jan. 30 that the Tonawanda Senecas opposed the loan and were actively lobbying to stop it from going forward.

The Seneca Nation is invested in solar power.

Two days ago, Seaport Res Ptn, a stock analyst firm, downgraded Plug Power from a "buy" position to "neutral," which made headlines in the business press. The Seaport researches projected lower earnings this year for Plug Power.

A New York-based company (Latham) was founded in 1999 and has yet to turn a profit.  In its most recent earnings report, in September, it reported $890 million in revenue, a record for the preceding 12 months and a 38 percent year-over-year improvement.  Over the same period, the company lost $283.5 million.

In January, Plug Power began fuel production at its new plant in Woodbine. Georgia. The plant is designed to produce 15 tons per day of liquid electrolytic hydrogen, which the company says can power 15,000 forklifts per day. 

Two days ago, the company resumed fuel production in Charleston, Tenn. That plant produces 10 tons of liquid hydrogen per day.

The two facilities coming online are expected to reduce Plug Power's cost of production and improve its move toward profitability. 

The company's specialty is green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced without fossil fuels powering the facilities, and then that hydrogen, when used as a fuel source, results in zero carbon emissions. (More info: Forbes Magazine video about green hydrogen featuring Plug Power)

Plug Power's long-term goals are enterprising -- to be the market leader in green hydrogen. It is building a "vertically integrated" business model, which means it can provide customers with hydrogen services in a variety of ways.  For an idea of vertical integration, think of Apple. From Apple, you can get an iPhone, iPad, computer, or even earbuds that all work together seamlessly.

Plug Power aims to provide customers with fuel cells, electrolyzers (splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen), to liquid hydrogen fuel. They even provide companies like Walmart and Amazon with hydrogen-powered forklifts.  Plug Power wants to provide distribution, delivery, and services and foresees a future for hydrogen that includes uses such as long-haul trucking.

Companies and consumers looking to hydrogen as a green-energy alternative to fossil fuels face many challenges, and Plug Power is attempting to provide solutions to those challenges. The nation currently provides little in the way of hydrogen production and infrastructure, according to industry analysts.  

Plug Power's challenges include competition from other fuel sources, including natural gas, solar, and wind, as well as the steep price of building an entirely new vertically integrated infrastructure that can meet global demand.

In an interview with a green energy podcast, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said hydrogen power is under attack from industry leaders who believe electricity is the only solution to carbon-driven climate change.

"It's folks who really don't want hydrogen to be part of the solution, and I would contend they really don't understand," Marsh said. "I would like them to explain to me how you clean up long-haul trucking. I'd like them to explain how you do the last mile for 30 percent of the applications. I like them to explain how you do a fertilizer. I like them to explain how you do steel, which represents six or seven percent of the world's carbon footprint -- electricity solves none of that, and it's rather frustrating that if you're really thinking about how, from a system point of view, you clean up greenhouse gas. It's not really possible with their solutions."

He said solving climate change will take all of the green energy alternatives, even including nuclear power.

Plug Power's executives have set ambitious goals -- producing 2,000 tons of hydrogen daily by 2030. At that rate, the company hopes to generate $20 billion in annual revenue at that point with a profit margin of at least 30 percent.  

According to  Marsh, one ton of green hydrogen is the fuel equivalent of 2,000 gallons of gasoline. 

The company selected WNY STAMP for the construction of a liquid hydrogen plant in February 2021.  The plant will cost more than $290 million to complete. 

Empire State Development is scheduled to pay up to $2 million in Excelsior Tax Credits in exchange for the creation of 68 jobs at the plant, or about $2,941 per job per year over 10 years. Plug Power is not eligible to receive the tax credits until the jobs are filled. The average starting salary is expected to be approximately $70,000 plus benefits.

As part of the project, Plug Power agreed to invest $55 million in a 450-megawatt electrical substation that will make electricity available to other WNY STAMP tenants.

The company received $118.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. Over the 20-year life of the property tax extensions, Plug Power will make payments in lieu of taxes totaling $2.3 million annually, which will be shared by Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama School District.  Each jurisdiction will also receive an increasing amount of property tax payments each year over the life of the agreement.

The STAMP plant, based on available descriptions of the other plants operated by Plug Power, would be the company's highest capacity plant.

If Plug Power were to go out of business, there's no information available on what might become of the hydrogen fuel facility. When Pepsi/Muller closed its plant in Batavia, followed by the failure of Alpina, both plants readily found new operators in HP Hood and Upstate Milk Cooperative, respectively; while there are other hydrogen companies and other energy companies, it's unknown if any would be interested in the Plug Power facility if it became available.

For previous Plug Power coverage, click here.

plug power WNY STAMP
Photo by Howard Owens.
plug power
Photo courtesy Plug Power.
plug power WNY STAMP
Photo courtesy Plug Power.

Plug Power's financial filing raises concerns about stability of company

By Howard B. Owens
Photo via Genesee County Economic Development Center.
Photo via Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Uncertain about its ability to raise more investment capital, Plug Power, currently building a hydrogen fuel cell plant in WNY STAMP informed the Security and Exchange Commission in a filing on Friday that it may not have the ability to remain a "going concern" over the next 12 months.

The Latham-based company started selling public stock in 1999 and has never reported a profit, which is not unusual for early-stage start-ups. 

The company is working on several options to raise more capital, such as "various financing solutions from third parties with a particular focus on corporate level debt solutions, investment tax credit related project financings and loan guarantee programs, and/or large scale hydrogen generation infrastructure project financing."

The net losses for Plug Power in the third quarter were $0.47 per share for the third quarter, steeper than the $0.30-per-share loss expected by analysts. 

In the filing, the company emphasizes the uncertainty of the effort. 

"Those plans are not final and are subject to market and other conditions not within the Company’s control," the company stated in the filing. "As such, there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in obtaining sufficient funding. Accordingly, management has concluded under the accounting standards that these plans do not alleviate substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

News of the weaker-than-expected earnings report and the liquity problems drove Plug Power's stock price down from $5.93 per share to $3.53 per share.

Plug Power's chief financial officer, Paul Middleton, according to Yahoo Finance, characterized the wording of SEC filing as language required by standard accounting principles but the company remains confident about its future.

"It's a lot more conservative obviously than what we feel like," Middleton added. "But I have a $5 billion balance sheet that's unlevered. I mean, I really don't have any debt. So, we still are extremely confident about the range of parties and solutions that we're working with."

The company reported $5.4 billion in assets, including $110 million in cash with an operating loss in the third quarter of $273.9 million.

The Company’s working capital was $1.3 billion as of Sept. 30, In addition, the company has available-for-sale securities and equity securities of $388.8 million and $67.8 million, respectively.

The company stated that it "expects to generate operating losses for the foreseeable future as it continues to devote significant resources to expand its current production and manufacturing capacity, construct hydrogen plants, and fund the acquisition of additional inventory to deliver our end-products and related services."

CEO said in an earnings call that the third quarter was difficult.

"Over the past several months, there have been enormous challenges associated with the availability of hydrogen, primarily due to downed plants, including our Tennessee facility, and temporary plant outages across the entire hydrogen network," he said.

According to reports in early October, Plug Power is considered a strong contender for a portion of $7 billion in federal grants for alternative energy projects. In 2019, the federal government committed $4 million to the company.

Plug Power is building a $290 million fuel cell plant at STAMP in the Town of Alabama. The company is being (most of the funding is contingent on completion of the project) financially backed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center and New York State.

A GCEDC official did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the SEC filing.

Here is the full paragraph of a key statement in the filing:

These conditions and events raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. In accordance with Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2014-15, “Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40),” management has evaluated whether there are conditions and events, considered in the aggregate, that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the date of the condensed consolidated financial statements are issued and has determined that the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern is dependent on its ability to raise additional capital. To alleviate the conditions and events that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern, management is currently evaluating several different options to enhance the Company’s liquidity position, including the sale of securities, the incurrence of debt, or other financing alternatives. The Company’s plan includes various financing solutions from third parties with a particular focus on corporate-level debt solutions, investment tax credit-related project financings and loan guarantee programs, and/or large-scale hydrogen generation infrastructure project financing. Those plans are not final and are subject to market and other conditions not within the Company’s control. As such, there can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in obtaining sufficient funding. Accordingly, management has concluded under the accounting.


Plug Power awarded low-cost Niagara hydropower allocation by NY Power Authority

By Press Release

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved economic development awards to three firms that will spur more than $508 million in capital investments and create 205 jobs. 

Included among the approved items are low-cost hydropower allocations to Plug Power, a New York-headquartered hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer, for further development of its Genesee County site. 

The NYPA board also approved low-cost hydropower allocations to facilitate an expansion in Niagara Falls for EnerPlate, an electroplating service provider for grid-scale battery systems, and CWT, a hatching eggs producer for the global poultry industry, expanding in Watertown. 

"New York's growing clean energy infrastructure and local economic development go hand in hand," Governor Hochul said. "The items approved today by the NYPA Board of Trustees will create good-paying jobs and spark hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in communities in Western and Northern New York." 

At today's meeting, the NYPA board approved a 50-megawatt (MW) low-cost Niagara hydropower allocation to Plug Power, located at the Genesee County's Science, Technology & Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), to support the firm's $387 million green hydrogen fuel production expansion project that will lead to the creation of 19 additional jobs at the location. The firm is underway with its construction of the $290 million green hydrogen fuel production facility at the site that was announced by Governor Hochul in 2021. The expansion project will increase the capacity of the planned hydrogen production from an estimated 45 tons per day to 74 tons per day. The NYPA board also approved an additional 62 MW of High Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market.

The Power Authority supports Plug Power at three other locations: Slingerlands, which completed construction in January, Latham, and West Henrietta. In total, NYPA supports Plug Power with 272 MW of low-cost power, supporting more than 2,100 jobs throughout the state.

Schumer pushing to make NY leader in carbon-free energy production

By Press Release

Press release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to make New York State home to the nation’s first Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Law. In a direct letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Schumer explained how New York is already a national leader in hydrogen energy production and research, with North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility currently being constructed in Western New York by Plug Power. Schumer said that if selected for federal investment, the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub would mean thousands more clean energy jobs in New York and major federal investment to cement New York as a leader in the fight against climate change and the future of carbon-free energy production.

“From WNY, Rochester, and the Capital Region to Long Island, New York is leading the nation in hydrogen energy production sparking innovative research that is literally turning water into carbon-free power for electricity, fuel cells, and so much more. That is why I wrote to Energy Secretary Granholm directly to make it clear that New York has all the right ingredients to be the nation’s first-ever Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub and fuel America’s clean energy future,” said Senator Schumer.

Schumer added, “When I led the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to passage with an unprecedented $9.5 billion federal investment to expand the hydrogen industry, I had in mind innovative companies like Plug Power in Upstate New York and the potential to create thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs in communities that need it most. New York’s powerhouse workforce, top tier research institutions, and easy access to the renewable energy needed to produce green hydrogen make it uniquely suited to supercharge and lead the federal government’s efforts to secure the nation’s spot as a global leader in clean hydrogen production to power our fight against climate change.”

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided $8 billion for the Department of Energy to establish four or more Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs to demonstrate the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen. Today’s two Requests for Information from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy points to how important it is that New York quickly coordinate the most compelling proposal for a New York-centered Hydrogen Hub. In addition, the law also makes several new critical investments in hydrogen fuel and clean energy, including:

  • $1 Billion for a new Department of Energy Electrolyzer demonstration, commercialization and deployment program to improve the efficiency, increase the durability, and reduce the cost of producing clean hydrogen using electrolyzers.
  • $500 million for a new Department of Energy clean hydrogen manufacturing recycling program to foster a clean hydrogen domestic supply chain in the U.S. 

Senator Schumer has been leading the charge to expand clean hydrogen production in New York. In 2020, Senator Schumer made a personal call to Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh pushing for the company to select Upstate New York for the site of its newest factory instead of a site in another state that was in contention.  In December 2020, Schumer announced that Plug Power had heeded his call and selected Monroe County as the site for its new ‘gigafactory,’ a hydrogen fuel cell component R&D and manufacturing plant, bringing $125 million and nearly 380 jobs to the Finger Lakes region. The new ‘gigafactory’ will manufacture hydrogen fuel cell stacks and electrolyzers, which will be used to power a variety of electric vehicles and to generate power from renewable green hydrogen.

Schumer also called on the Department of Energy to support Plug Power’s newly proposed plan to construct a $290 million hydrogen facility at the Western NY STAMP site in Genesee county and personally visited the site in September. Plug Power’s new production facility at STAMP will produce green hydrogen to supply fuel-cell-powered equipment and vehicles such as freight transportation and logistics handling equipment.

Plug Power site clearing is underway at WNY STAMP

By Mike Pettinella


Steven Falitico of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Jim Krencik, marketing director for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, provided this photo from the WNY STAMP site that captures the progress of Plug Power's green hydrogen manufacturing project in the Town of Alabama.

Gov. Kathy Hochul at WNY STAMP: Plug Power will get 'the very best people'

By Mike Pettinella


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.


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.”


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.


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.


“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.



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.

Settlement between Tonawanda Seneca Nation, GCEDC removes 200 acres at STAMP from possible development

By Mike Pettinella

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.

County judge rejects Tonawanda Seneca Nation's suit against GCEDC in connection to Plug Power siting

By Mike Pettinella

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.

Building Trades Councils gather at WNY STAMP in support of Plug Power

By Press Release


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.

Schumer announces Samsung is still in play for WNY STAMP site; pushes for incentives to support Plug Power

By Mike Pettinella


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.


Concerning Plug Power, Schumer said he is launching a $9.5 billion push to secure new hydrogen investments through the recently-passed, bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the House and the Senate.

"And we're also including more money for hydrogen and green hydrogen during the upcoming negotiations in the Budget Reconciliation bill," he said. "There are two major parts to this. Already in the bill that passed the Senate, is $8 billion to create four hydrogen hubs in the country. There's no better place than Western New York in terms of hydrogen."

He said Plug Power was the leading hydrogen cell fuel company in the country, and is in near completion of building a "giga-factory" in Henrietta that will employ 380 people.

Schumer said he also is promoting a multi-billion dollar "production tax credit" in addition to the investment tax credit that already is on the books. He said the production tax credit would lower the cost to make green hydrogen by up to $3 per kilogram "and that means more customers for green hydrogen, more demand for the fuel made here at STAMP and more demand for the Plug Power jobs in Western New York."

By increasing the output from 45 tons to 500 tons per day, Plug Power would be creating 700 additional jobs at the STAMP site, Schumer said.

Plug Power's hydrogen cells power forklifts used at some of the world's biggest companies, including Walmart, Amazon and BMW, said Plug Power President/CEO Andrew Marsh, who also was at the press conference.

"The bipartisan infrastructure job act has over a $1 billion for electrolyzers -- for research, demonstration, commercialization and also for reducing the cost and increasing reliability," Marsh said, adding that electrolyzers create hydrogen from green electricity (with) a zero carbon footprint.

He said that leading market experts foresee hydrogen as being 23 percent of the world's energy by 2050.

Marsh said Plug Power's goal is to produce 500 tons of hydrogen per day -- "that's equivalent to a million gallons of gasoline," he advised -- and is poised to do that, in part thanks to raising $5 billion as a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ exchange.

Currently, Plug Power has 1,700 employees, with 1,000 of them in New York.


From GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde:

"The STAMP site was designed and is being built to enable the acceleration of new technologies and advances in manufacturing with our outstanding renewable energy and talent availability. The commitment by Plug Power to bring green hydrogen to the market with Project Gateway at STAMP, and of Senate Majority Leader Schumer to expand the benefit of Genesee County, our region and state, and for the future of our economy and environment."


Photos below: Plug Power President/CEO Andrew Marsh speaking at today's press conference at WNY STAMP site; GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde with Schumer and Marsh. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Ways & Means passes measures rescinding revenue distribution payments, accepting HCA with Plug Power

By Mike Pettinella

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.


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.


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

GCEDC officials see Plug Power's investment as a continuation of agency's 'track record of success'

By Mike Pettinella


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”  


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.”


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.


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.”


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.”



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.


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.

Planners get lesson in Plug Power's green hydrogen production, question county holding water in reserve

By Mike Pettinella

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.”

Plug Power, Quicklee's, Town of Le Roy, Liberty Pumps referrals part of 15-item county planning agenda

By Mike Pettinella


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.

GCEDC president applauds New York Power Authority's support of Plug Power project at WNY STAMP

By Mike Pettinella

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.

GCEDC board approves Plug Power project for WNY STAMP

By Howard B. Owens

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

GCEDC board approves Plug Power incentives

By Howard B. Owens

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.

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