Plug Power’s regional presence to grow

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Plug Power has ramped up its commitment to the Finger Lakes region, this time with its intent to build the largest green hydrogen fuel production facility in North America. The $290 million facility and electric substation will be located in Genesee County.

The alternative energy technology provider plans to construct the site at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the town of Alabama. The company expects to create 68 jobs at the new facility, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily.

“Plug Power’s future rightfully revolves around building the green hydrogen economy,” says CEO Andy Marsh. “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.”

Based in Latham, Plug Power claims to have created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company is a big buyer of liquid hydrogen and works with customers like Amazon, BMW and Walmart. 

In January, Plug Power said it would establish a $125 million innovation center in Monroe County, creating 377 new jobs. The site is expected to make hydrogen fuel cell stacks for the firm’s ProGen hydrogen fuel cell engines used to power various electric vehicles, including material handling equipment, on-road commercial fleet vehicles, and drones. Plug Power also operates a facility at Eastman Business Park.

The firm’s plans in Genesee County represent the first build at STAMP. The business park requires that the company fund the construction of a 450-megawatt electric substation to support its expansion as well as future growth opportunities, officials say. STAMP, a 1,250-acre mega site, is located in the New York Power Authority’s low-cost hydropower zone. 

A comprehensive state and local incentive package from NYPA, Empire State Development and Genesee County smoothed the way for Plug Power. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in the summer.  

The state incentives support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Green Energy program—expected to drive more than $29 billion in public and private investment statewide and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy, enough to power 6 million homes. The state hopes these investments will not only move New York toward a carbon-neutral economy but also spur an economic recovery from the pandemic. 

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement. “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.”

Plug Power is slated to receive $2 million in Excelsior tax credits in exchange for its job-creation commitments. Genesee County will provide additional local tax incentives, pending various approvals by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, officials say.

The stock market has kept a close watch on Plug Power’s plans. Analysts see the upside for significant returns from these facilities. Oppenheimer stood by its buy rating while JP Morgan on Monday called it an attractively priced stock. 

Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) shares jumped more than 7 percent with that buy rating before the markets closed yesterday. 

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.

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