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WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park

April 5, 2021 - 9:32am

When it comes to Genesee County’s water supply, municipal officials are fixated on a goal of a regionalized system under the umbrella of the Monroe County Water Authority.

Projects continue to move forward to the east and west of Genesee County as part of what is known as Phase 2 – resulting in an additional two and a half million gallons per day. And much more work is planned for Phase 3, which is expected to increase the county’s daily water output by another six million gallons.

With a steady influx of economic development in the county and the prospect of large-scale manufacturing at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama in the near future, the demand for water is bound to amplify.

“We’re flipping over rocks everywhere we go to find more water,” said Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, who is responsible for carrying out the county’s strategy.

Hens said that developing a regional water supply will result in a “resilient, safe and affordable” commodity for years and years.

“That’s probably the best thing for everybody,” he said. “The cost of repairing stuff down the road would be borne by the entire MCWA service area, not just the Village of Le Roy, for example, trying to replace its own water plant.”

Great Lakes water: Safe and plentiful

He said water coming from the Great Lakes is safe and plentiful.

“The water is safer (because) you’re dealing with Great Lakes water as opposed to water that might be contaminated with a flood or runoff or anything else that might go wrong,” he said. “It’s safer and, honestly, it’s more redundant because we will have potentially water supply from four different water plants on the Great Lakes.”

Genesee County has been working over the past two decades to achieve its quest for eight and a half million gallons per day, Hens said, calling the effort “very complex with a lot of intermunicipal relations.”

He said the county’s system currently pumps about four and half million gallons a day through the City of Batavia’s water treatment plant. That water, in turn, is sold to the communities in the central part of the county.

The key player in all of this is the Monroe County Water Authority.

“We get about two and a half million gallons per day from the MCWA through the North Road booster station in Le Roy,” Hens said. “And then Monroe County buys a little bit of water from Erie County to feed Darien, Pembroke and Corfu on the west side.”

Pump station upgrades ongoing

Hens said several pump station upgrades are either in progress or on the schedule as the county works to meet the demand:

  • Mumford and Churchville, small portions of Phase 2 that are set to come online by April 15;
  • Morgan Road in Scottsville; Scottsville; Riga, and North Road, which were submitted to MCWA for consideration last week;
  • Golden Road booster station in the Town of Chili, which was submitted to MCWA on March 5.
  • Bissell Road in Bergen, which calls for the installation of 1,700 linear feet of water main to the MCWA connection, and would provide up to 35,000 gallons per day. Hens said this minor project should be done by June.

Additionally, Hens said that installation of water mains on North Road and Vallance Road in Le Roy and a water line on Chestnut Ridge Road in Chili (that will feed into the yet-to-be-constructed Golden Road booster station) is finished.

Hens said that the pump station upgrades and the Golden Road booster station will mark at end to Phase 2 work.

“All of those projects combined will increase our water supply,” he said. “Hopefully, by this time next year we will have everything done and we can have that water available for the summer of 2022.”

Hot days tax the water supply

While Hens said he looks forward to the warm summer months, he is concerned about “those 90-degree days that put a strain on the water supply.”

“Right now, we’re kind of tapped out on water supply,” he said. “On a hot summer day, like last year on the Fourth of July, we were kind of in drought conditions. We’re pretty much – there was no water left to tap. We were producing all the water that we could produce, and it was being used up on a daily basis.”

Genesee County is taking steps to secure water for its central (including the City of Batavia) and western zones as well, Hens said.

“The city water plant draws water from two primary locations – the Tonawanda Creek and the wells on Cedar Street (in front of the county highway department near O-At-Ka Milk Products),” Hens advised.

He said Well A and Well B are active, but are susceptible to an extended drought. For that reason, the county is looking at adding a third well, Well C.

“Given the fact that we are at – kind of peak supply, peak demand right now until Phase 2 is completed – we need to make sure the Batavia water plant has enough water coming out of it to meet the demand, especially in the summertime,” Hens said. “Well C would be there not necessarily to produce more water but as a backup in case one of the other wells has an issue. That way, we can be assured that the city plant can produce as much water as needed.”

Well C is vital to the overall plan

Hens said the county has completed an environmental review and may be ready to award a bid to Frey Drilling to get this project moving.

“It will probably be late summer or the fall before its online. It’s going to be a critical piece for the next few years to have that,” he said.

On the west side, Hens said the county gets about a million gallons a day from Erie County to serve residents in Darien, Pembroke, Corfu (and a small area in the Town of Alabama).

“We’re looking at every single drop of water that we can get until we can do Phase 3 and eventually Phase 4,” he said.

He said he looked into a project with Erie County that officials thought would create an additional two and a half million gallons per day, but it fell through.

“Last fall, we did some hydraulic testing with Erie and Monroe counties, combined, and artificially created a demand by pumping into Genesee County to see the effect on Erie County. When we were pumping in at a higher rate, we caused pressure issues in Erie County as far west as Cheektowaga along Walden Avenue,” Hens said. “Because of that, it would actually cost more money because of the need to do system upgrades, and we kind of shelved the idea."

Looking ahead, the county is embarking on the environmental, design and master planning work for Phase 3.

Phase 3 completion three years away

“In a perfect world, we would start Phase 3 construction by 2023, but it’s hard to say. I’m hoping, fingers crossed, that Phase 3 can be delivered, complete and operational by 2024 -- 2025 at the latest,” he said.

Hens said a major component of Phase 3 would be to run pipelines back into Monroe County, all the way to the Shoremont Treatment Plant in Greece.

“That’s quite a bit of pipeline, with a lot of it through urban areas, and will be a very expensive project,” he said.

Upon the completion of Phase 3, Hens said that the City of Batavia water plant would be taken offline.

Furthermore, county officials are discussing a proposal to establish a Niagara County-MCWA relationship similar to the current Erie County-MCWA pact, Hens said.

“This could benefit us as we await Phase 3 and provide water to STAMP’s large water needs in the future and benefit MCWA in the long-term as they might be the source beyond what Niagara County could provide to STAMP at full build-out,” Hens explained. “Monroe County, if it agrees, would operate the systems. We’re not sure if it’s feasible; it’s just an option because we’re definitely going to need the water.”

Previous: Genesee governmental leaders ready to address call for a countywide unified water rate

March 31, 2021 - 2:36pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 25, 2021 - 6:23pm

Press release from Gov. Cuomo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 10 MW allocation of low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project.
  • $1.5 million from the Western New York Power Proceeds program.
  • 143 MW of High-Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market.

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

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

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

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

Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said, "Plug Power's future rightfully revolves around building the green hydrogen economy. We are grateful our home state of New York supports aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives. And, that Plug Power's green hydrogen solutions can make such an impact on positive environmental and economic climates in the state. Many thanks to the leaders of New York State for their continued support including Senator Schumer, Governor Cuomo, and many from Empire State Development, Genesee County Economic Development Center, and others." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Plug Power website:

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

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

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

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

February 3, 2021 - 6:26pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other highlights of The Buffalo News story:

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