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After Schumer Advocated To Commerce Secretary Raimondo Directly For Binghamton University’s New Energy NY Proposal It Was Selected For Exclusive Opportunity To Compete For Up To A $100 Million Grant To Transform The Southern Tier Economy

With Major Manufacturing & Tech Hub Funding From Schumer’s U.S. Innovation & Competition Act In The Works, Senator Says Binghamton Is Primed To Tap Into These Fed $$$ To Power The Future Of Battery Innovation And Bring Manufacturing Back To America

Schumer: Binghamton’s New Energy NY Project Being Selected As A BBB Challenge Finalist Is A Game Changer—Now It’s Time To Bring It Home And Make The Southern Tier A Battery Research & Manufacturing Hub!

Following his direct advocacy that secured Binghamton University’s New Energy NY Proposal’s spot as a finalist for up to a $100 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) Regional Challenge grant, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer continued this momentum by launching a major push for the feds to select the Southern Tier project. Schumer explained that Binghamton’s project was selected out of 500 applicants nationwide as a Phase 1 awardee, awarding them $500,000 in technical assistance funds to develop their Phase 2 application. Now, Schumer said he is doubling down on his support for the Southern Tier, and also revealed how new programs in his bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), like significant investment in strengthening domestic manufacturing, securing critical supply chains, and boosting research and development (R&D), are uniquely suited to support Binghamton’s battery R&D and manufacturing efforts. The senator said funding from the Regional Challenge competition would elevate Binghamton and the entire Southern Tier as an emerging global battery hub, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and fundamentally transform the region’s economy.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have Binghamton bring manufacturing back to America, create good-paying jobs, and have Upstate New York lead the world in cutting-edge battery research. Broome County was once the global home to innovation, as the birthplace of IBM, flight simulation and virtual reality, and this project can breathe new life into that legacy to reinvigorate the Southern Tier economy and make Binghamton a major national battery research and manufacturing hub,” said Senator Schumer. “Electric vehicles are booming, and Binghamton can seize this opportunity to grow the beating heart of this industry right here at home. The potential funding from the EDA Regional Challenge, in tandem with the significant investment in domestic supply chains, manufacturing, and research from my U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, can supercharge Binghamton’s economy and I will not stop fighting to make sure that Southern Tier workers are the ones who secure the good-paying jobs to power our nation’s future.”

"New Energy New York, if successful, will provide a giant leap forward in efforts to advance our region as a national and international leader in next-generation battery research, design, manufacturing and workforce development," said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. "The support provided by Sen. Schumer for our NENY initiative as well as all of the technology support ideas incorporated into his USICA proposal are just what we need to revolutionize U.S.-led technology advancements and reinvigorate economies here in New York and across the country."

"We can become a national hub for battery innovation, manufacturing and workforce development," said M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton's distinguished professor, researcher and 2019 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry. "We know that, with initiatives like our BatteryNY and NENY programs and the technology initiatives put forth by Sen. Schumer in his USICA proposal, we can bring back manufacturing to the U.S., we can bring back jobs and we will help make the U.S. a global leader in battery storage technologies as well all types of advanced manufacturing again."

Schumer personally advocated to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for the selection of the Southern Tier as a finalist to compete for this opportunity. The senator explained that the $1 billion EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge Program, created by the American Rescue Plan, received 529 Phase 1 applications from across the nation. Binghamton University’s New Energy NY proposal was one of only 60 selected as a Phase 1 awardee allowing them to receive $500,000 in technical assistance to strengthen their project and compete for a Phase 2 final award. Now, with a national spotlight on Binghamton as a rapidly growing battery research and manufacturing hub, the proposal for the exclusive Phase 2 award has been submitted. Phase 2, Schumer said, will award 20-30 regional coalitions between $25 million and $100 million in grant funding for their project, if selected.

Schumer explained that Binghamton University’s Distinguished Professor, M. Stanley Whittingham, helped develop the lithium-ion battery, an effort that was recognized with his receipt of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019. This battery is integral to everyday life, helping to power mobile phones, laptops, smart watches, and electric vehicles, but unfortunately, much of the manufacturing of this critical technology has been offshored, leaving the country vulnerable to supply chain disruptions that can raise costs for working families and jeopardize U.S. jobs and national security.

Specifically, Binghamton’s Regional Challenge proposal would establish a battery technology and manufacturing center hosted by Binghamton University, with a focus on bringing the manufacturing of batteries back to America and supporting the economic resurgence of an underdeveloped area of the Southern Tier. If fully funded, it is estimated that the project will create as many as 8,000 new direct jobs in the next 10 years, with the potential to support or sustain thousands of additional indirect jobs. The Southern Tier is home to hundreds of manufacturers, many of which have significant interests or are well positioned to participate in the battery supply chain. In addition, the proposal would build on regional programs to help spur entrepreneurship, climate justice, and workforce training through partnerships with institutions of higher education and community organizations. The 13-member project coalition includes Binghamton University, SUNY Broome, SUNY Corning Community College, Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as NY-BEST and other key stakeholders like IncubatorWorks, Clean Fight New York, and county and state government entities.

Schumer also pointed to major federal investments in battery manufacturing and clean energy domestic supply chains in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act that can bolster the Southern Tier. The senator said more than $7 billion in new investment to secure the domestic battery and materials supply chain, including $3 billion for battery material processing grants and $3 billion for battery manufacturing and recycling grants bolstering companies like iM3NY which is a lithium-ion cell manufacturer building its first Gigafactory at the Huron Campus in Endicott, NY part of the former IBM campus. In addition, Schumer said the IIJA includes $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers, including $175 million for New York, which will put America on the path to a convenient and equitable network of 500,000 chargers across the country.

In addition, Schumer highlighted significant federal investment slated for R&D, including in advanced energy and batteries, entrepreneurship, tech training and education, and domestic manufacturing as a part of his U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) that can also benefit Binghamton and the Southern Tier in their ongoing pursuits to expand domestic battery R&D and manufacturing sector.

Specifically, Schumer said that his bill would:

  • Scale up federal investment in supply chains and American manufacturing, including a new supply chain resiliency program, $16.9 billion for Department of Energy R&D and energy-related supply chain activities across critical technologies like batteries, $2.4 billion for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and $1.2 billion for the Manufacturing USA program. This investment would more than triple the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) that provides funds to MEP centers like the Southern Tier’s Alliance for Manufacturing and Technology (AMT) to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers, including companies in the region like iM3NY, with cybersecurity, workforce training, and supply chain development. The bill also creates new energy-related supply chain investment and launches a supply chain resiliency program to bring manufacturing back to America and help address supply chain vulnerabilities, like batteries, that are driving up costs on working families and disrupting the economy.
  • Create a new $10 billion Regional Technology Hubs through the Department of Commerce to support regional economic development efforts to build hubs around the country to not only research and innovate technologies but also manufacture them here in America. Schumer said that this initiative aligns itself with the goals of the EDA’s Regional Challenge Program, as well as with Binghamton University’s proposal and would create further opportunities for Upstate New York to compete for more federal investment. The technology hubs would carry out efforts on strengthening manufacturing and domestic supply chains, workforce training, business and entrepreneur development, technology transfer and commercialization, and infrastructure improvements to boost innovation and manufacturing across the country.
  • Increase investment for National Science Foundation (NSF) Research and Development Programs and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and training programs, and launch a new NSF Directorate of Technology and Innovation to support R&D in key technologies, including advanced energy and batteries. Schumer said that major research institutions like Binghamton University and technical training schools like SUNY Broome and Corning Community College are in a strong position to compete for these federal funds. The legislation would direct new funds at regional innovation centers to support tech transfer and entrepreneurship programs. It also incorporates a series of new programs, including programs for STEM education for underrepresented populations, including for rural communities, and skilled technical education to prepare workers for tech and manufacturing jobs.

Schumer led USICA to Senate passage in June of last year. The House passed its companion legislation, the America COMPETES Act this past January. Last week, Senator Schumer took an important step to the bill advancing to final passage, announcing Conferees to the Conference Committee to reconcile differences between the Senate- and House-passed bills in order to send final legislation to the President to sign into law.

Senator Schumer has long been leading the charge at the federal level to make electric vehicles affordable, expand electric vehicle infrastructure, and batter manufacturing in the U.S. In October 2019, Schumer unveiled his Clean Cars For America Climate Proposal to help accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century by making clean cars and charging infrastructure accessible and affordable to all Americans, all while investing in the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries to ensure the U.S. leads the world in this industry.