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October 20, 2021 - 2:04pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANKING THE 'EARLY VISIONARIES'

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

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

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

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

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

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

MASSE PROMOTES SHOVEL-READINESS

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

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

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

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

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

MARSH FORESEES ACCELERATION

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE for more about today's developments.

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

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October 16, 2021 - 12:12pm

Press release from Tonawanda Seneca Nation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted photo from the WNY STAMP site this morning.

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

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Representatives of Samsung have visited the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in recent days, Sen. Charles Schumer said today, renewing optimism that the international semiconductor manufacturer may join Plug Power, the Latham-based leader in the development of hydrogen fuel cell systems, in placing a production plant at the 1,250-acre site in the Town of Alabama.

Announcing what he called a "two-pronged approach" at a press conference at the STAMP site off Route 77, Schumer (photo above) said that he has been communicating on a regular basis with the president of Samsung, based in South Korea, and the head of the company's United States operations -- promoting STAMP as the ideal location for the semiconductor facility it is looking to build.

The second prong of Schumer's plan is the passing of special tax credits by Congress to enable Plug Power to expand its operation in Genesee County even beyond its initial projection of producing 45 tons of green energy per day to 500 tons per day by 2025. Plug Power officials are expecting to begin operations at STAMP in about 16 months.

"If we become a manufacturer of high-end chips and if we become a center of hydrogren and hydrogen fuel and hydrogen cells, that will affect jobs in Buffalo, Rochester and all of Western New York," Schumer said. "It will be a great job magnet right here ... in Genesee County ... between Rochester and Buffalo."

Schumer said the goal is to attract jobs and tenants to "this campus right here in Genesee County ... and in Western New York."

He said he is trying to land Samsung's $17 million chip fab and touted Plug Power for building North America's largest green hydrogen fuel cell plant at STAMP.

"Those are two major, major things," he said, drawing applause from several government, business and education leaders who were in attendance.

WNY STAMP is owned by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, which was represented by its CEO/President Steve Hyde and other high-ranking employees and board members.

The senator said key components of the strategy is to obtain federal dollars to attract a company such as Samsung, and "to bring critical infusions of federal support to make STAMP a domestic hub for new semiconductor and clean energy industries -- both."

Schumer said he is "quadrupling down" on his efforts to secure new semiconductor manufacturing at STAMP, adding that he authored legislation to allocate $15 billion dollars "so we can make our own chips here."

"If we don't do it, our national security is at risk and our economy is at risk," he said. "And if they're all made overseas -- in Taiwan and in China -- we're going to lose."

He said that many automobile companies in the U.S. are experience slow production because they can't get semiconductor chips.

"I've told the top brass at Intel, Micron and, of course, Samsung that STAMP is an ideal location, and, of course, I will use my clout as (Senate) majority leader once we get the chip manufacturing dollars passed into law ... I will use my clout to try and bring one of those companies right here to Genesee County."

The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 includes $52 billion in incentives for semiconductor manufacturing and research that Schumer said is critical to Samsung and other companies that want to expand their operations in the U.S. He said the USICA is supported by President Biden and "will get through the House (of Representatives) this fall.

Schumer said he has confirmed that Samsung is considering the STAMP site, although no final decisions have been made. 

"After a lot of calls showing them that STAMP is the right place for them and showing them that they would have the majority leader on their side, in terms of getting an allocation, they came and visited (last month) and saw for themselves. They paid a visit and saw first-hand how STAMP is -- how tailor-made STAMP is for hosting large semiconductor fab right here," he said.

PUSHING FOR PLUG POWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From GCEDC President/CEO Steve Hyde:

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

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

May 19, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Press Release in wny stamp, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer filed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which combines Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act, other bipartisan competitiveness bills, and $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to implement the semiconductor-related manufacturing and R&D programs authorized in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act and a program to support legacy chip production that is essential to the auto industry, the military, and other critical industries.

An additional $1.5 billion is provided for implementation of implement the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G. This package of innovation bills will receive a final Senate vote in the days ahead.

“The U.S. Innovation And Competition Act will be the blueprint to make Upstate New York the global innovation and semiconductor hub as one of the most significant government investments in American innovation and manufacturing in generations,” said Senate Majority Leader Schumer.

“I’m proud that this bipartisan legislation advances my Endless Frontier Act to keep the U.S. on the cutting-edge of technology and provides a historic investment in the nation’s semiconductor industry that will strengthen national security and create jobs across Upstate New York. We must invest in R&D, innovation, and manufacturing to ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology. The Empire state is the perfect place to grow innovation industries, including our semiconductor R&D and manufacturing, and my amendment will solidify New York as a global hub for technology.”

Schumer added, “I’m making it a top priority to move quickly and secure the necessary funding to stand up the semiconductor programs I fought to pass into law last year that will bring us one step closer to ensuring our domestic semiconductor industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is a step essential to growth in high-tech R&D, manufacturing, and jobs across Upstate New York and to our national security and U.S. leadership in this critical industry."

Details on the supplemental appropriations proposed by Senator Schumer appear below:

·       $49.5 billion allocated over 5 years for a CHIPS for America Fund. Funding must be used to implement the Commerce Department semiconductor incentive and R&D programs authorized by the FY21 NDAA (Sec. 9902 & 9906). Within the fund, the following appropriations are available:

o   Incentive Program: $39 billion appropriated upfront and allocated over 5 years to implement the programs authorized in Sec. 9902. $2 billion is provided to solely focus on legacy chip production to advance the economic and national security interests of the United States.

§  $19 billion in FY22, including the $2 billion legacy chip production funding

§  $5 billion each year, FY23 through FY26

o   Commerce R&D programs: $10.5 billion appropriated upfront and allocated over 5 years to implement programs authorized in Sec. 9906, including the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, and other R&D programs authorized in Sec. 9906.

§  $5 billion in FY22

·       $2.5 billion for advanced packaging

·       $2 billion for NSTC

·       $500 million for other related R&D programs

For use across the advanced packaging, NSTC, and other related R&D programs, the following would be provided:

§  $2 billion in FY23

§  $1.3 billion in FY24

§  $1.1 for FY25 and FY26 

·       $2 billion for a CHIPS for America Defense Fund: Funding is appropriated up front and $400 million is allocated each year, over 5 years for the purposes of implementing programs authorized in Sec. 9903(b), providing support for R&D, testing and evaluation, workforce development, and other related activities, in coordination with the private sector, universities, and other Federal agencies to support the needs of the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

·       $500 million for a CHIPS for America International Technology Security and Innovation Fund: Funding is appropriated upfront and $100 million each year, allocated over 5 years to the Department of State, in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, for the purposes of coordinating with foreign government partners to support international information and communications technology security and semiconductor supply chain activities, including supporting the development and adoption of secure and trusted telecommunications technologies, semiconductors, and other emerging technologies.

An additional $1.5 billion is provided for the implementation of implementing the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G.

Details on the Endless Frontier Act:

The Endless Frontier Act, as reported by the Senate Commerce Committee, seeks to maintain and build on U.S. science and technology leadership through investments in research and 5 development and strengthening regional economic development, manufacturing, and supply chains. The legislation would authorize roughly $120 billion over 5 years for activities at the National Science Foundation (“NSF”), Department of Commerce (“DOC”), the Department of Energy (“DOE”), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”).

The Endless Frontier Act advances priorities including reducing undue geographic concentration of R&D funding, encourage broader participation of populations underrepresented in STEM, and increase collaboration across federal agencies and with non-governmental partners on innovation.

Notable Provisions:

·       Technology Directorate: The Endless Frontier Act would create a new Directorate of Technology and Innovation at the NSF to support research and technology development in key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum science, in order to strengthen the global leadership of the United States in innovation. Major activities would include funding research and development at collaborative institutes, supporting academic technology transfer and intellectual property protection, establishing technology testbeds, and awarding scholarships and fellowships to build the relevant workforce. The Directorate would be authorized at $29 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, including a transfer of $2.9B to existing NSF divisions to support basic research collaboration. 

·       NSF Research and Development Programs: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize $52 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026 for existing NSF activities, representing a seven percent increase each year. The legislation would also create a Chief Diversity Officer at NSF and increase STEM education to enhance the domestic STEM workforce. The legislation also incorporates a series of new programs, including programs for precision agriculture, rural STEM education, quantum information science, skilled technical education, critical minerals, and bioeconomy R&D.

·       Regional Technology Hubs: The Endless Frontier Act creates a regional technology hub program at DOC to support regional economic development in innovation. Technology hubs would carry out workforce development activities, business and entrepreneur development activities, technology maturation activities, and infrastructure activities related to the technology development. The technology hubs program would be authorized at $10 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026.

·       Manufacturing: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize close to a quadrupling of the DOC Manufacturing Extension Partnership and create a new track within the program for public benefit activities like workforce development and cybersecurity services. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be funded at $2.4B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The substitute would also authorize the Manufacturing USA program, at $1.2B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, and add workforce and coordination provisions. 

·       Supply Chain Resiliency: The Endless Frontier Act would establish a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce to work with the private sector, for the purpose of identifying and recommending opportunities to mitigate or address supply chain vulnerabilities in the United States and in allied and partner countries. It would also amend the recently-enacted CHIPS Act to provide $2 billion in incentives for domestic production of mature semiconductor technologies, such as for the automotive industry. 

Schumer’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is supported throughout the state. Supporters include:  

"GLOBALFOUNDRIES thanks Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his leadership, his ongoing support of our industry, and his forward-looking perspective on U.S. chip manufacturing,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield. “The semiconductor supply chain is not only a top priority for the U.S., but also a global issue with many countries looking to bolster their own chip production. The Endless Frontiers Act has bipartisan sponsorship and great momentum - the time is now to act to pass the bill and ensure that the U.S. is not left behind in the race to secure onshore chip manufacturing."

M&T Bank Chairman and CEO Rene F. Jones said,As a bank for communities, we understand that economic development and prosperity requires building an “ecosystem” that attracts, retains, develops, and engages modern talent, creating sustainable and equitable engines for economic growth. This is especially true in small and mid-tier cities, where we serve and across the country. In cities like Buffalo and Rochester, we are building a new technology hub and hosting a growing number of innovative entrepreneurial businesses that support long-term competitiveness. The Endless Frontier Act sponsored by Senators Schumer and Young has bipartisan support and backing from the business community because it helps the United States regain our position as the world’s leader in technology and innovation while building out economic opportunities that are inclusively distributed across the country.”      

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “Upstate New York, and especially the Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes region, is poised to become a global hub for the critical semiconductor manufacturing industry. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly supports Senator Schumer’s amendment to the Endless Frontiers Act, which will invest in much-needed infrastructure like our Genesee County STAMP facility. This will not only help create jobs and bolster the economy in our region, but drive innovation, advancement, and competitiveness for our nation. We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his continued leadership and for championing the EFA.”

"Senate Majority Leader Schumer has long-championed upstate New York as the ideal region for critical growth of the domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D investments due to our university research and talent, our established and ever-growing semiconductor supply chain, along with our considerable capacity of renewable, reliable, and competitively priced electricity,” said Steve Hyde, president & CEO, Genesee County Economic Development Center. “We applaud Senator Schumer for his leadership, and agree that passage of the Endless Frontiers Act and the recommended appropriations would be catalytic in growing the high-tech economy at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) and all across upstate New York."

Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Mike Oates said, “HVEDC applauds Senator Schumer’s leadership in championing the Endless Frontier Act, which will invest in the Hudson Valley's growing semiconductor manufacturing industry and high-tech research and development initiatives. The Endless Frontier Act will bolster technological innovation and create jobs as we welcome global industry leaders like ON Semi to town. We thank Senator Schumer for his continued efforts to grow the Hudson Valley’s global footprint as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation.”

“EWI applauds Senator Schumer’s leadership in advancing the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act,” said Henry Cialone, president and CEO of  Buffalo Manufacturing Works/EWITo compete on a global scale, manufacturers must be able to make effective use of emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, advanced metal stamping with servo technology, and next generation nondestructive inspection – innovations that drive productivity, quality, and reduce cost. EWI enthusiastically supports this bill because it focuses on increasing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through innovation and investing in the manufacturing workforce.”

Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher said,The Endless Frontier Act represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turbo charge scientific and technological innovation in the United States. Buffalo Niagara’s economy will benefit tremendously in repositioning America as the world’s true technology leader with a critical focus on manufacturing, research, and workforce development.  The Buffalo Niagara Partnership supports this bipartisan legislation and strongly advocates for its passage.  The BNP commends Senator Schumer for leading this effort.”

"From our automobiles to our smart phones to the appliances in our kitchens, semiconductors are critical, not just to our national security, but to our everyday life,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Senator Schumer’s leadership in ensuring that we continue to build domestic research and production capacity, encouraging more companies like CREE-Wolfspeed to invest, is great news for America and Oneida County.”

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “Passing this bill will be a significantly important step towards securing a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Onondaga County. Our site is known across the globe for its easy access to affordable water and power along with our great quality of life. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his steadfast leadership and advocacy for this bill and our community.” 

“ON Semiconductor applauds the inclusion of CHIPS for America Act funding in the Endless Frontiers Act substitute amendment,” said Hassane El-Khoury, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor.  “The Act will help America compete with its trading partners who have been aggressively supporting semiconductor research and manufacturing in their countries."

A section-by-section summary of the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 can be found here and the text of the legislation can be found here.

April 14, 2021 - 3:17pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27, wny stamp.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined a bipartisan group of representatives and senators to call on President Biden to prioritize funding and policies in his FY2022 budget proposal that bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains.

“Domestic production of semiconductors is an economic and national security priority,” Jacobs said. “China is investing billions of dollars into developing this technology and mass manufacturing. We cannot afford to rely on them or other foreign manufacturers.

"We saw this year the devastation when foreign supply chains break down, and given the sensitive, classified, and consumer technologies powered using semiconductors, we must ensure a robust domestic manufacturing program is developed to protect security.”

Specifically, the letter calls for prioritized investment into initiatives outlined in the CHIPS for America Act that was enacted into law as part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation creates incentives to support semiconductor research and development and the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

“Nationally, these investments are critical to our economic development, global competitiveness, and national security," Jacobs said. "Locally, these investments also have the potential to aid in the economic development of Western New York by supporting assets such as the STAMP plant in Genesee County that are readily available to host high-technology manufacturers.

“I am encouraged the President has recognized the importance of secure supply chains and domestic manufacturing; I urge him to prioritize these needed investments.”

To read the letter to President Biden, click here (pdf).

April 8, 2021 - 11:53am
posted by Press Release in Sen. Charles Schumer, news, wny stamp, Alabama.

Press release:

After fighting for and securing Plug Power’s new hydrogen fuel cell "gigafactory" in Rochester, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (April 8) announced his support to secure a $520 million federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to be used in constructing a network of green hydrogen facilities.

This includes the planned 68-job green hydrogen production facility at the Western New York Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo.

Schumer first wrote to the DOE in November 2020 to advocate for the DOE to approve a loan guarantee through its Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Last month he doubled down in urging the new Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to provide support and resources to help make Plug Power’s plans to build its hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County's Town of Alabama a reality.

The DOE has since approved Plug Power, which initially submitted its Part I application in November 2020, to submit a Part II Application for a loan guarantee under the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program which is the next step in the multistep process to ultimately secure a DOE conditional commitment and final loan guarantee agreement.  

Senator Schumer said, “Securing this federal loan guarantee will be a win-win to supercharge Plug Power to new heights by supporting its planned 68-job hydrogen fuel production facility at the WNY STAMP site in Genesee County while also creating the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities to produce carbon-free fuel-cell power.

"I’m glad the DOE has now given Plug Power the green light to pursue a federal loan guarantee. I’ll continue to support Plug Power to the fullest in securing this loan guarantee and creating North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility right here in the heart of Western New York. “

The $520 million loan guarantee will support Plug Power’s construction of five new green hydrogen production facilities to create the nation's first green hydrogen production network. The facilities will vary in size, producing between 10 to 60 tons of green hydrogen fuel per day up, totaling approximately 180 tons per day of liquid hydrogen production capacity.

Plug Power plans on starting with the construction of a $290 million production facility at the WNY STAMP site, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily, create 68 new jobs, and rank as North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility.

Schumer previously noted this new network of green hydrogen fuel production facilities, including the facility at STAMP, can be a national model in efforts to achieve the Biden Administration’s goal to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create quality clean-energy jobs.

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

Schumer said Plug Power can lead the charge in dramatically reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions with the construction of its first green hydrogen production facility at the STAMP campus.

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plug Power

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

Excelsior Solar

  • Proposed Property Tax Payments
    • $1.8 million / year 1, increases by 2 percent annually
    • Based on $6,500 / megawatt
    • $44 million / 20 years
  • Estimated Savings
    • $21.4 million property tax savings / 20 years
    • On solar panels only, land with panels on them are assessed separately
    • $11.2 million sales tax exemption
March 5, 2021 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Plug Power, GCEDC, business, wny stamp.

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A public hearing will be scheduled on the proposed incentives.

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

In other actions:

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

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

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

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

March 1, 2021 - 12:48pm
posted by Press Release in Plug Power, GCEDC, news, wny stamp, Alabama.

Press release:

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

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

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The construction of a hydrogen fuel production facility at WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park will have benefits for Genesee County that go far beyond the 68 jobs expected to go along with the $290 million project, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, in an interview this afternoon.

Besides positioning STAMP to potentially be a big part of New York's green energy future, Plug Power has agreed to invest more than $55 million in a 450-megawatt electrical substation that other potential STAMP manufacturers can tap into.

"This is a big, huge investment," Hyde said. "This will more than double our investment into infrastructure in STAMP."

While some infrastructure is already in place much of the infrastructure construction for STAMP has been on hold until an advanced manufacturer agreed to locate a plant in the 1,250-acre mega site. Now the business development team at GCEDC will be able to tell site selectors that critical infrastructure, such as the substation, will be in place by a time-specific date.  That may help some site selectors who have been kicking the tires of STAMP -- including, according to news reports, Samsung -- make a final decision about their construction plans.

STAMP has been Hyde's dream project for more than a decade and throughout all these years he has cheerfully repeated, "economic development is a marathon and not a sprint." He used the phrase again today.

And he's not across the finish line yet. There is still a purchase agreement to complete and get approved by the GCEDC board with Power Plug as well as ironing out the final figures on an incentive package to help bring down development costs for the company. Typically these include a PILOT (payments made in lieu of taxes), and tax abatements on construction materials.

New York has already committed to providing $2 million in tax credits for job-creation its Excelsior program. These are incentives the company will not receive unless they meet job creation targets.

Plug Power will tap into clean hydroelectronic power from Niagara Falls to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will be liquified, stored in tanks, and transported to Henrietta where Power Plug is building a hydrogen fuel cell factory. 

Many of those fuel cells will be used in forklifts and other warehouse equipment used by companies like Walmart and Amazon, giving those companies a cost-effective and 100-percent carbon-free source of energy for a key part of its operations.

Hydrogen fuel cells will also be available for long-haul trucking as well as other applications.

"We're going to be part of a 100-percent green, renewable energy ecosystem," Hyde said.

He said that will help make STAMP attractive to other companies participating in New York's push to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. 

That viewpoint mirrors the opportunity for STAMP to become an innovative hub for green energy with 1366 Technologies, which manufactures state-of-the-art solar wafer chips, announcing its intention to build a plant in STAMP in 2015. That proposal fell apart after years of delays because the Department of Energy would not sign off on a previously promised loan guarantee. Then Rep. Chris Collins apparently did nothing during that time to help push the project along with the DOE.

The DOE will not be as heavily involved in this project and Rep. Chris Jacobs seems to have no reservations about supporting the project. He issued this statement this evening:

“Landing Plug Power is an incredible win for Genesee County and the entire region. Thanks to the great work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, the STAMP site is attracting high-tech, innovative businesses to bolster our region and provide high-paying jobs to Western New York. This is only the beginning, and I’ll do whatever I can to help bring more opportunities to our area.”

The Plug Power plant is expected to produce 45 tons of hydrogen fuel on a daily basis. 

The New York Power Authority is supporting the project with: 

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

Power Plug is investing another $125 million in a facility in Henrietta to create fuel cells. The project is expected to create another 377 jobs for the region.

In a statement released yesterday, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said, "Plug Power's future rightfully revolves around building the green hydrogen economy. We are grateful our home state of New York supports aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives. And, that Plug Power's green hydrogen solutions can make such an impact on positive environmental and economic climates in the state."

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Acting Secretary,

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 11, 2021 - 6:57pm

At first glance, one might think that a major metropolitan area such as Austin, Texas, or Phoenix, Arizona, would have major advantages over the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park – better known as STAMP – when it comes to convincing an international corporation to build a semiconductor facility in the Town of Alabama.

But not so fast, says Steve Hyde, chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, who participated in a video interview with Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, earlier today.

Hyde, when given the opportunity to “sell the STAMP site,” didn’t hesitate -- coming up with several reasons why it would be beneficial for a company such as Samsung, for example, to build a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant at STAMP.

Recent published reports indicated that Samsung was considering STAMP – as well as the Austin and Phoenix areas – for a new semiconductor plant and that the Albany-based Plug Power was planning on operating a “green hydrogen” facility at the Genesee County park.

“STAMP can really compete and they (potential tenants) have got to take a serious look at us,” Hyde said. “That’s why we’re seeing opportunities in a big way right now in the marketplace.”

Hyde backed up that statement by pointing out that STAMP is located between two metropolitan areas (Buffalo and Rochester), has a growing and hungry workforce, and has access to low-cost green energy, and also the fact that New York does not impose “personal property taxes” on manufacturing equipment – a significant savings to these mega companies.

“There are very discreet advantages here in Western New York that you want to seize upon and emphasize,” Hyde said. “And they also need to consider that against some of the challenges in a market that has been a boomtown for 25 years (speaking of Austin) … that you have incredible competition for the workforce there right now.”

He noted that in Austin, the home of Tesla, Oracle, Texas Instruments and Samsung, big companies are competing for the same set of workers.

“Plus, the infrastructure there is overwhelmed and the congestion is crazy. So, there’s some challenges there relative to workforce,” he said. “When you look at us, we’re at a distance of a mile a minute you can literally travel on the highways. And there’s a well-qualified workforce from New York’s second- and third-largest metros. And for the pay rate at STAMP (estimated at $75,000 to $100,000 annually) … those workers will drive 30 to 45 minutes.”

Hyde also said another big advantage is that New York doesn’t charge “personal property taxes.”

“All of the manufacturing equipment in Texas is taxed as personal property taxes. So, when you really look closely at it, we’re going to be really aggressive on the incentive side with the state … and will be far less expensive than Austin because we don’t tax the equipment that will be two-thirds the cost of the project,” he explained.

He also pointed out that this area has good workforce solutions, noting that area colleges, including Genesee Community College, and Genesee Valley BOCES are building degree programs for high-tech industry.

“These big projects that we’re talking about, whether it’s a big renewable project or semiconductor, (they’re) huge power users,” Hyde said. “They want green power and we’ve got the New York Power Authority and we’ve got Niagara Falls less than 30 miles away. We have some of the lowest-cost green energy available in all of North America – like half of what it costs in Austin.

“So, you look at power, you look at operating costs, our labor is about 10 percent cheaper than Austin right now because the market has run up so much. Those factors are a huge part of the cost profile of running an operation like this.”

Hyde’s comments come in the face of a story in the Buffalo-based Investigative Post that indicates Samsung is leaning toward Austin as the site for the microchip factory that would employ about 1,800 people.

According to the Investigative Post report:

  • Austin “appears to have a leg up, as it is already home to Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which has 2,500 employees;
  • Samsung has purchased 250 acres of land next to its existing facility and has applied for zoning variances, and is seeking more than $1 billion in incentives to build there. It quoted Nate Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying Samsung’s odds of expanding there are “north of 90 percent.”
  • Roger Kay, a market analyst with Boston-based Endpoint Technologies Associates, said that Austin has “the inside track” and suggested other sites, including STAMP, “are most likely involved to help the company drive up the value of incentives in Austin.”

Hyde remains optimistic, stating:

“We’ve been eating this elephant a bite at a time as capital becomes available. You know what, though, we’re finally just now arriving at the season where we built the initial pieces of the infrastructure for the site and we can accommodate smaller projects. But we’ve got all of the big infrastructure fully designed, fully permitted and fully ready to build … and now the big projects are inside that window.”

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

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

January 23, 2021 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in samsung, wny stamp, news, business.

South Korean technology company Samsung is reportedly eyeing WNY STAMP, along with two locations in Texas, for the construction of a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant.

Citing The Wall Street Journal (paywall), The Hill reports, Samsung aims to become the leader in the $400 billion industry and needs a plant in the Uniited States to make that happen.

Sen. Charles Schumer was in Alabama in August to discuss a congressional push to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the United States as a matter of national defense. The National Defense Authorization Act has not yet been funded.

The Hill reports that Samsung is looking to negotiate with federal officials for financial incentives to build the plant in the United States because it would be cheaper to develop its product in other parts of the world. 

Reportedly, Samsung’s goal is to have a chip-making plant operational by October 2022 and to employ 1,900 people.

May 15, 2020 - 8:51am

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended approval of a zoning text amendment to allow mixed-use buildings in the Town of Pembroke Interchange District, but not before a discussion on the practice of placing housing units in industrial parks.

Tom Schubmehl, a member of the planning board and Pembroke resident, said he had some reservations about the Town Board’s application to modify zoning in the Interchange District -- a wide area around Thruway Exit 48A, extending to Route 5 along Route 77.

“Is there any other district in the county industrial districts that allows residential use? Schubmehl asked, directing his question to County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari.

Oltramari said that the Interchange District was different from a traditional industrial district.

“It can have commercial and it can have industrial … it has the Flying J (Travel Center). It has other things like that and includes an industrial park from the EDC,” Oltramari said, adding that he couldn’t think of other similar areas in the county that permit mixed-use facilities.

Schubmehl said he couldn’t either and said “it is a concern of mine that we start letting residential fill in this space. It's going to be no different than the rest of Pembroke.”

“I know it has no bearing on the impact of inter-community that we're discussing here tonight as a County Planning Board, but as a resident of Pembroke, I think it's bad idea,” he stated.

$3 Million Commercial/Resident Project Proposed

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is touting a $3 million commercial/residential project at its Buffalo East Technology Park, which is situated in the Interchange District.

J & R Fancher Property Holdings LLC has proposed building a 32,254-square-foot, three-story facility on two acres in the park, and is waiting for a public hearing and GCEDC board vote on its application to receive more than $600,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax incentives.

According to the GCEDC, the project consists of 17 market-rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors, with space for four commercial tenants, as well as indoor parking and a fitness center on the ground floor.

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC vice president of business development, was on the planning board’s Zoom videoconference meeting last night, and pointed out that his agency worked with the Town of Pembroke on attracting the venture.

“They were all in favor for it,” Suozzi said. “Certainly, there's a housing shortage need in Genesee County. If anybody hasn't seen the housing study that LaBella (Associates) put out, (it’s) on the Genesee County website. And there's a big shortage of housing.”

GCEDC: 'Live, Work, Play' Model

Suozzi said the GCEDC is promoting a “live, work, play model” and that housing – particularly at industrial parks -- is an essential component in that thinking.

“And I know the location … in Pembroke is a great location because it's across from the school and already has a Tim Hortons that wasn't part of the EDC project, but it has that ability to be right next door to it and also has 7.9 acres in total that is being proposed, of which 2 (acres) are buildable and the other 5.9 are wetlands,” Suozzi offered. “They're all protected. It's a green space.”

He went on to say the project will generate tax revenue for the Town of Pembroke and reiterated that the town board is endorsing it.

Schubmehl then asked Suozzi if the GCEDC was going to consider residential at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama.

“Well, you know, if the town said yes, I would certainly look at it, but it's not really up to Chris Suozzi and it’s not up to the EDC -- it's up to the municipality,” he said, again referencing a housing shortage.

“We look at economic development as a whole, and we bring in these companies … and the workers are living in Rochester and Buffalo, (so) we’re not optimizing the economic benefit of Genesee County,” he said. “And that's what that housing studies are showing; (that) there's a big need and we're missing the boat in terms of that revenue staying right in our county.

“So, to me, this is a new world right now and housing’s a big part of it, and the 'live, work, play' model is starting to change what's going on Downtown Buffalo right now … It's because all these old factories are being recondition and rehabbed and the millennials are jumping all over them and they're seeing growth in their workforce.”

Director Promotes Mixed Use for STAMP Site

Oltramari said he could foresee mixed-use buildings at the STAMP site, especially in a technology district closest to the hamlet of Alabama.

“I could see mixed-use buildings in that because the whole point of that is sort of having like an actual link between the hamlet and the business park,” he said. “You could have commercial businesses on the bottom floor, sort of like a main street kind of scenario. And I think that's been the vision for, you know, that kind of part of the park for a while now. So, I think even the town would be in favor of that at STAMP.”

Schubmehl asked whether or not the “live, work” model was actually in the proposal in front of the board, which prompted Oltramari to say he didn’t see it as a major issue.

“I think the era of separating uses, just for the sake of it commercial from residential or, you know, the whole reasoning behind that is to keep incompatible uses apart,” he said. “I don’t see that as a reason anymore, especially in the business parks.”

Planning Board Chair Laraine Caton then asked for a vote and all members, including Schubmehl, voted in favor of the request.

“No, I'm not opposed to it for the purposes as a planning board, we’re worried about inter-community problems here,” Schubmehl said. “And that's not an inter-community problem.”

In other action, planners:

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit for Jesse and Jolene Coots of Le Roy to operate an ATV, automotive event, hill climb, mud bog and time trial course on 10 acres of a 110-acre vacant parcel of land that they own on Perry Road in Pavilion.

The applicants said they plan to hold events two or three times this year (with the schedule dependent upon the COVID-19 pandemic).

The board’s modifications focus on the applicant obtaining written documentation from NYS Department of Conservation that the project will not be encroaching on wetlands as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for the potential Federal Wetlands. It also asks that the Coots submit an application for 9-1-1 Address Verification to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office to ensure that an address is assigned that meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit request from Waifin Properties LLC of Clarence Center to operate a contractor’s yard in a Commercial District at 850 Main Road, Pembroke.

The proposed yard would encompass a 100-foot by 100-foot area on a 7.6-acre lot.

The board said the applicant is required to surround equipment and materials storage area with a fence of at least 8 feet high that has a gate, which shall be closed and locked except during working hours.

October 10, 2019 - 8:18pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, propane, wny stamp.

The Genesee County Planning Board tonight voted in favor of a special use permit for a family-owned propane business that is branching out to the Town of Le Roy.

The board unanimously approved the permit for Wendt’s Propane & Oil to install an above-ground propane distribution center at OATKA Hills 1 Commerce Park on North and Lake Roads in Le Roy, agreeing that the project should pose no significant county-wide or inter-community impact.

It was recommended, however, that Town of Le Roy officials alert the fire district of the plan and that the applicant submit documentation pertaining to 9-1-1 address verification requirements and to meet Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

Company President Paul Wendt and his son, Trevor, sales manager, attended the meeting along with David Ciurzynski, of Ciurzynski Consulting LLC, in Attica.

“Our office is in Sanborn but we have been delivering more and more this way,” said Paul Wendt, noting that the Le Roy facility will be their first venture away from Niagara County. “We found a nice piece of property in Genesee County and we thought that it would be good to expand.”

Wendt said three employees initially will work at the Le Roy site, which (mirroring its home base) will provide propane and oil service for commercial, residential and agricultural customers.

According to documents filed with the planning board, the plan is to develop around six acres of the parcel for the above-ground storage tanks and 9,600-square-foot warehouse and truck garage building. The rest of the 11.9-acre tract will remain undeveloped, with an eye on creating walking paths and green space.

Ciurzynski said they hope to have the tanks installed in November and have the building up by next spring. First, they have to get the Town of Le Roy's approval of the special use permit and then apply for the necessary building permits.

The Wendts’ project is set up in two phases – the first to get the site ready for the installation of a pair of 30,000-gallon storage tanks, with four additional locations for future expansion, and the second to put up the warehouse and truck garage.

In other action, planners recommended:

-- Approval of a special sign permit for a third sign at Metro Mattress at 4187 Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia. While the maximum number of signs normally is two, the board felt the extra sign would not cause any problems.

Documentation submitted by Craig Tesler of Premier Sign Systems showed three freestanding lighted signs would be affixed to the building – at dimensions of approximately 4 x 10 feet, 3 ½ by 24 feet, and 3 ½ by 7 ½ feet.

-- Approval of an ice cream stand to be operated by Amanda Smith, of Darien, on property owned by John Mroz at 9114 Alleghany Road (Route 77) in the Town of Pembroke.

-- Approval of a site plan review for relocation of a doctor’s office to a building owned by Nancy Crocker at 7133 W. Main Road (Route 5) in the Town of Le Roy. The 4,460-square-foot structure sits on 3.1 acres and meets medical code requirements, the owner said.

-- Approval of the final subdivision to transfer a roadway at the WNY Science &Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park from routes 77 and 63 to Crosby Road (STAMP Drive) in the Town of Alabama from the Genesee County Economic Development Center to the Genesee County Highway Department.

March 7, 2018 - 10:04pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, wny stamp, GCEDC, genesee county legislature, lawley insurance.

The leader of the Genesee County Economic Development Center said he is attempting to persuade a company “five times the size of 1366 Technologies” to put its stake in the WNY Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

“We’ve had five site visits” (with the company),” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and chief executive office, this afternoon at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, later adding that the business is “five times the size of 1366 as far as investment and jobs go.”

“We will either be the bridesmaid or bride in this deal, and (if the latter) it would change the face of the community,” Hyde said, invoking a nondisclosure agreement. “While 1366 was a start-up, this company is very solid.”

Hyde and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia said they were disappointed by the decision of 1366 Technologies, which manufactures solar wafers, to pull out of STAMP – a 1,250-acre, shovel-ready nanotechnologies site developed by the GCEDC.

“It took two years for the announcement that 1366 would be coming and another two years for them to pull the plug on that project,” Battaglia said after Hyde and CFO Lezlie Farrell gave the committee a quick overview of the GCEDC’s financial picture. “It takes a lot of work and effort with no guarantee that we will be successful.”

Hyde said that “fiscal pressures” in the form of decreased funding and a greater workload are “part of the challenges that are hard to overcome.” However, he said he is confident that a deal is in the near future.

“It’s just a matter of when, not if,” he said.

The GCEDC will be coordinating four projects at the STAMP site in the coming months in an effort to achieve what he called the “big house blueprint – big water, big sewer and big electric.”

GCEDC officials reported that the 2018 budget shows $26.9 million in revenue against $27.3 million in expenses, with $1.4 million budgeted for operations and $25.6 million for WNY Stamp.

Hyde said that the shortfall would be covered by annuity streams generated by HP Hood, which has moved into the former Muller Quaker yogurt plant on East Main Street Road.

He bemoaned the fact that financial backing from Genesee County has decreased by 31 percent since 2008 (currently at $193,513 annually) since the agency’s only two sources of funding are project revenues/origination fees and county support.

“The challenge is that we have is that we’ve been in an environment where the body of work has illuminated. The work activity, business development and sales, and workforce development – notably in food, beverage and agriculture – have more than doubled,” he said.

Hyde reported that in 2017, the GCEDC steered 16 projects that resulted in $240 million in pledged capital investment and 288 pledged job creation. Eight of those projects, generating $231 in capital investment, were in the food and beverage/agri-business sector.

For 2018, a key stated GCEDC goal is to secure additional investment to implement STAMP Phase II site and infrastructure development to help make the site globally competitive by better aligning infrastructure readiness timelines with market needs (market-ready/shovel-ready).

In an another development, the Ways & Means Committee engaged in a discussion with Lawley Insurance executives Reggie Dejean and Suzie Ott and County Information Technology Director Steve Zimmer about cyber liability insurance.

Cyber insurance has emerged as a result of increased activity by hackers or other criminals who gain access to a firm’s electronic network. Most notably, but not exclusively, it covers a business' liability for a data breach in which personal and/or confidential information, such as Social Security or credit card numbers, is exposed or stolen.

Zimmer said he didn’t think Genesee County has enough protection in this area.

“Cyber liability insurance would give us the financial resources to bring experts in,” he said, adding that he projected that if all data was lost at the Mental Health department, for example, it would cost up to $3.8 million to rectify the situation.

Currently, he said there are in excess of 700 users -- including volunteer fire department personnel -- on the county’s computer network, which presents the risk of someone opening an infected e-mail or attachment.

Dejean said cyber policies offered by Lawley have limits of $1 million, $2 million or $5 million, and cover data & network liability/third-party liability, web and print content liability, regulatory defense and penalties, cyber extortion (ransomware) and business interruption (loss of income). They also offer the ability to notify up to 250,000 people of a breach.

The committee made no commitment, but did get the figures -- annual premiums of: $21,663 for a $1 million policy; $27,078 for a $2 million policy; $36,061 for a $5 million policy with $100,000 deductible; and $32,818 for a $5 million policy with a $250,000 deductible.

When asked where the money would come from to pay the premium, County Manager Jay Gsell said initially it would come from the county’s self-insurance fund, “but going forward (if people are identified as causing problems) there could be some changes to financing the risk.”

Gsell, responding to a question about how to educate computer users, said he was in favor of formulating a policy, starting with the E-911 board to communicate the responsibilities associated with information technology.

“The education piece has to start sometime soon,” said Ways & Means Chair Marianne Clattenburg.

-- The committee also endorsed a resolution proposing a local law designating the opioid epidemic and its impact on Genesee County a "public nuisance" and to set a course to recover costs incurred by the county in providing related services.

The resolution, in part, states that "as a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, family and social services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation, and many other areas have significantly increased. Many of these costs are paid by the County. The purpose and intent of this Local Law is to allow the County to recover these costs ... whenever practicable, from the responsible party."

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 28 at the Old County Courthouse.

April 11, 2017 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, wny stamp, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced a new round of bids for site work at STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids was published April 11.

The work will include: asbestos abatement and demolition of a former two-story residence at 6758 Alleghany Road; a former two-story residence at 6725 Crosby Road; a former one-story residence at 840 Crosby Road; and, two barns and removal of debris from a structure that was a former residence.

The bids will be unsealed and read at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, located at 99 Medtech Drive in Batavia. Bids also can be accessed by contacting Debbie Button-Vanderwall (585-402-7511) from Clark Patterson Lee, which is the engineering firm overseeing the bidding process.

“While we will not be conducting a pre-bid meeting; those interested in submitting a bid can arrange for a site visit to see the structures,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “It also should be noted that for this specific work the Project Labor Agreement will not be applicable.”

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