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Rep. Paul Tonko And Rep. Chris Gibson Visit Plug Power

Two powerful Capital Region congressmen on the opposite sides of the aisle met in Latham Tuesday afternoon to tour the Plug Power facility.

Congressmen Paul Tonko and Chris Gibson were given a full tour of the company's manufacturing operation. Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh says the firm leads New York State and the nation in hydrogen and fuel cell system development and manufacturing. "Last year we increased our revenue by 50%, did over a hundred million dollars in revenue. 200 million dollars in bookings, and we'll do a hundred and fifty million dollars in revenue this year, growing again by 50 per cent, as well as building 25 hydrogen fueling stations. We're delivering more hydrogen to electric vehicles than anyone in the world."

The company has grown from  87 to 300 employees in about five years time.   Speaking to employees Tonko vowed to work to getting the federal Investment Tax Credit for fuel cell purchases, set to expire at the end of the year, to be extended.  "We're here today to share that we are partners with you, but mostly we're here to hear your stories, to witness your pride, to thank you for your commitments, so that this is all a strong company that then becomes the strong argument to advance the Investment Tax Credit policy."

Tonko and Gibson appeared together at Plug Power five years ago and were pleased to see the progress the company has made. Here's Gibson.   "Don't take it for granted. We're very grateful for your hard work and the positive contributions that you make, not only to our economy,  and clearly it is important to our economy, but I would argue that it's important to our foreign policy too. As somebody who did four tours of the Middle East, I want to see us get out of that business. I want to see energy independence."

The 2-man congressional tour comes two weeks after the plant rolled the red carpet out for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer - where he vowed to rally Senate support for the Investment Tax credit , which he proclaimed to be a "critical stimulus for the company’s success."  

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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