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Construction begins on new hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County

A line of officials with shovels standing in the dirt.
Office of the Governor
Officials broke ground on the new hydrogen fuel production facility Wednesday.

Hydrogen fuel is increasingly predicted to play a major role in decarbonizing the global economy. The consulting firm McKinsey estimates that hydrogen could provide up to 18% of the world’s total energy needs by 2050.

Some of that fuel will be produced right here in Western New York.

Albany-based fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power held groundbreaking ceremonies on a new hydrogen fuel production facility in the Genesee County town of Alabama Wednesday.

"Right here in the field, will be the first large scale green hydrogen network; not only in New York, not only in the US, but around the world," said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh, accompanied by Gov. Kathy Hochul. "We're doing vehicles now; we're doing large scale stationary products; we're around the world shipping products out of this region in New York to support everything."

The facility will produce 45 tons of fuel daily using hydro-electricity from the Niagara Power Project. The company aims to supply 500 tons of fuel daily by 2025 across a nationwide network.

The company is the first tenant at the new Western New York Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Park, or STAMP. Plug Power is funding construction, but there has been controversy over $113 million in tax breaks granted the company.

Production is expected to create 68 new jobs. Investigative Post reported that amounts to about $4 million per new job created.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.