By Jill Nagy
Plug Power Inc., a manufacturer of hydrogen-powered fuel cells based in Latham, opened a new manufacturing plant in Clifton Park in August. The new facility, at 620 Van Patten Drive, will supplement the company’s existing manufacturing plant in Latham.
The company said the facility provides the expanded manufacturing capacity required for Plug Power products to meet the rapidly growing demands of the hydrogen fuel cell industry.
Plug Power is investing nearly $2.8 million over five years for the new 38,400-square-foot facility. Plug Power estimated that it will add 97 new jobs to its current roster of 650 employees. Because of the commitment to creating new jobs, Plug Power will receive nearly $640,000 in tax credits under the state’s Excelsior Job Program.
“The ongoing innovation in clean energy and the enterprising nature of the great people of upstate New York are closely tied as we move into the next phase of hydrogen fuel cell adoption,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO.
He said as the company continues to grow both its customer base and corporate family, “opening the Clifton Park facility was an easy decision. “We’re confident that our technology solutions coupled with the proven ingenuity, deep pool of engineering talent, and the unsurpassed work ethic of people in the Capital Region will make this expansion a great success.”
“The revenue and job creation supported by this new facility ensures that Plug Power will remain a catalyst in the economic success of the Capital Region, promoting both the growth of new ideas and quality jobs in the technology sector,” said a company new release.
Plug Power’s fuel cells replace traditional batteries in forklift trucks used in distribution centers for companies like Walmart and Amazon. The company was founded in Latham in 1997 and is focused on the design, development, commercialization and manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell systems. The fuel cell product solutions serve as an alternative to lead-acid batteries in electric material handling vehicles and industrial trucks for some of the world’s largest distribution and manufacturing businesses according to the company.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said strategic investments in advanced manufacturing and sustainable energy production “are allowing companies to develop and manufacture new technologies. Plug Power’s expansion means more green collar jobs in the Capital Region, promoting both the growth of new ideas and quality jobs in the technology sector.”
“As Plug Power grows, we are expanding our manufacturing capacity to meet the demand of our core material handling market as well as prepare for the rapidly developing on-road vehicle market. Increasing capacity for our cutting edge ProGen line of on-road hydrogen engines was a key part of this strategic decision,” said Keith Schmid, COO of Plug Power. “The expansion of Plug Power’s manufacturing capability through this new facility enables us to deliver on that promise.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said “the new manufacturing facility in Saratoga County will generate nearly 100 new jobs and continue to advance electric vehicle technology in New York State. The Capital Region is continuing to grow with tech companies like Plug Power choosing to invest and expand in the area.”
State officials said advanced manufacturing is a key component of New York’s economy and its continued development has been sparked by state investments. Capitalizing on an educated workforce and collaborative research support, the state continues to encourage industry innovation.
Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation supports Centers for Advanced Technology and Centers of Excellence that foster industry-university collaboration, including several with a clean energy focus. These efforts foster the state goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging greater energy efficiency.
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko said, “In my opinion, there is no better place to invest in the clean energy economy. We continue to grow as an epicenter of invention and innovation. In the nation’s capital, I joined my colleagues to successfully extend the fuel cell investment tax credit and will continue to fight to enable new, abundant and clean technology to power our tomorrow. I congratulate Plug Power and applaud the state of New York for recognizing the importance this sector plays to our growth and new job opportunities.”
The company website is at www.plugpower.com.