FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 16, 2005
Schumer Secures Key Provision In Senate Energy Bill That Would Create New Markets For Plug Power In Latham
As Member of Senate Finance Committee, Schumer Successfully Offered Amendment Which Offers Tax Credits For Telecom Businesses To Buy Stationary Fuel Cells
Schumer: Big Boost for Latham Fuel Cell Company Means More Jobs for Capital Region
US Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that he has secured a major provision in the Senate Energy Bill that would offer tax credits for telecom businesses purchasing stationary fuel cells, a move that could open up new markets for Plug Power. Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee lobbied aggressively for the provision and said that telecom companies would be encouraged to purchase from Plug Power because of a 30-percent business energy credit for the purchase of qualified fuel cells.
“This is great news for Plug Power and the entire Capital Region,” Schumer said. “Plug Power is a founding member of New Energy New York, is a key member of the New York Fuel Cell network and a worldwide leader in fuel cell technology. This tax credit is part of the future of jobs in the Capital Region and a key ingredient for our country’s long-term energy needs.”
“We are very pleased that Senator Schumer has worked so vigorously to help secure the 30% fuel cell tax credit for the industry,” said Dr. Roger Saillant, President and CEO of Plug Power Inc. “We are particularly excited that he has helped create inclusive language for the telecommunication industry which will help to accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell products in the telecommunications markets. The Senator’s efforts are consistent with his dedication to promoting alternative energy in New York and throughout the country and is a continuation of the important efforts he champions through New Energy New York.”
The telecommunications industry is in the beginning phase of testing and deploying alternative power source technologies while the fuel cell industry sees the telecommunications market as one of the earliest and most cost-effective market for fuel cells. Tests and initial deployments will extensively utilize hydrogen fuel cells to provide electricity for telecommunications infrastructure, and to provide backup power to facilities like cell phone towers in the event of a widespread power outage. By promoting the use of fuel cells for these purposes, the provision will help ensure continuity of service and encourage the development of an environmentally friendly source of power. Fuel cells have some significant advantages for the telecommunications industry, but are more costly to deploy than some alternatives. These energy tax credits are necessary to help bridge the cost gap. As a result, more fuel cells will penetrate the market and be able to demonstrate their viability as an effective energy solution.
The tax credit, co-sponsored by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), is included in the Tax Title of the Energy Bill, drafted by the Senate Finance Committee. The Energy bill, currently being debated on the floor of the United States Senate, is slated for a vote in the next several weeks and after final passage a conference committee will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions before sending it to the President.