The Plug POWERTrip Talks Policy in Washington, DC
June 4, 2015
The Plug POWERTrip – our six-city investor road show – spent the morning at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC. What better place to discuss policy and wrap up our tour than the nation’s capital!
We were joined by two special guests, both of whom have been strong supporters of the fuel cell industry and of Plug Power specifically: Congressman Chris Gibson, from New York’s 19th Congressional District and Reuban Sarkar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation.
CEO Andy Marsh introduced Congressman Gibson as a fervent supporter of fuel cells and a leader of the Industrial Fuel Cell Vehicles Act of 2013. Congressman Gibson represents many of Plug Power’s New York employees and Andy was quick to point out the care Congressman Gibson shows for the people of his district and our country. Congressman Gibson described Plug Power as a “scrappy” company that never quits. He went on to discuss the value of renewable energy for the United States in terms of helping us become more circumspect in the decisions we make around foreign policy. He asserted that this is not a partisan issue, saying, “Quite frankly, it’s a human challenge” and one we will be judged on by future generations. He noted that the investment tax credit is an important facilitator for industry growth and has his strong support.
Andy introduced Secretary Sarkar as a man who has a natural curiosity and has been involved in both industry and policy, noting that it is good to have someone with both strengths working to set policy in transportation. Secretary Sarkar’s remarks centered around the successes of the work done by the partnerships between government and the fuel cell industry, including cutting costs by 50% and doubling capacity since 2006 and catalytic funding for R&D and market demonstration programs. He specifically noted the joint program that led to the Plug Power program to demonstrate baggage handling equipment with FedEx.
Following our guest speakers, Andy recapped the new customers we have announced on the Plug POWERTrip.
He further recapped the messages we have shared during the road show: Plug Power’s goals and strategies for 2015; our successes with current customers and plans to grow the business to $500M in the next 3-5 years. He noted our achievements in hydrogen infrastructure and passion for continued development in this area in order to develop current markets more fully, like smaller material handling locations and stationary power markets and to enable expansion into new markets, including ground support equipment, range extenders and transport refrigeration units. He concluded with this, “In my mind, we’re already working on 2016 and beyond.”
Gerry Conway, Plug Power’s General Counsel, continued the earlier conversation about policy. He noted that an aspect of Plug Power that doesn’t get noticed very often is the work we do with a diverse group of people in Washington, DC, saying that Plug Power is a poster child for how work with many different agencies and programs can help a company to be successful. He added that the financial support of Department of Energy programs came at a critical point in the company’s history and enabled us to accelerate deployment of 300+ fuel cell units to multiple customers, including Sysco, FedEx and Coca Cola.
Gerry wrapped up with a discussion of the legislation Plug Power and others have worked on with members of Congress to put in to place, noting that we are continuing to work for sound productive policy that can continue to accelerate the fuel cell market today.
Following management presentations, the floor was opened for a robust Q&A session and we were not disappointed by the intelligent questions and comments from our investors and guests. Questions included whether we see any intersection between Plug Power’s experience in material handling and the automotive fuel cell industry (it’s possible Plug Power could someday be a supplier of fueling stations and hydrogen infrastructure for the industrial gas companies); who the competition is for Plug Power (right now, there is only one fuel cell competitor, but we really compete against lead-acid batteries); and whether Plug Power will be providing more fuel cells for telecommunications (we do it today; we’re deploying sites now).
Other questions included how much the cost of hydrogen factors into the value proposition for customers; interest in how hydrogen infrastructure happens; and what can be done to build market confidence in Plug Power so that the stock price will improve. For detailed answers to all of these and more, you’ll have to listen to the webcast replay.
If you were not able to join us today, you can listen to the webcast replay here: http://www.plugpowertrip.com. In fact, the replays for all six presentations are available here – close to nine hours of information about the company and our plans.
It has been a whirlwind tour the last three weeks. We cannot express how much fun we’ve had talking with you and hearing your thoughts about hydrogen and fuel cells, Plug Power and our collective vision for the future. Thank you for joining us on the Plug POWERTrip! We look forward to more opportunities to interact with you in the future.