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Plug Power adds former Obama energy official to its board

By   – Reporter, Albany Business Review

Plug Power has named Jonathan Silver, a prominent clean technology investor and adviser, to its board of directors.

His expertise and connections are expected to help Plug Power move into new markets, including electric vehicles. Plug so far has focused on making hydrogen fuel cells to power forklifts in the warehouses of Amazon, Walmart and other companies.

Silver is the managing partner of Tax Equity Advisors LLC, one of the largest solar tax equity investors in the United States, managing more than $400 million of investments on behalf of corporate clients that include some of the biggest companies in the world.

Previously, Silver spent a decade financing renewable energy projects, and advanced automotive technology that helped create electric vehicle platforms including Tesla and the Nissan Leaf.

At the U.S. Department of Energy, Silver led the federal government’s $40 billion clean energy investment fund and its $20 billion electric vehicle fund under President Barack Obama. Those are two of the largest clean energy investment funds in the world. The U.S. Department of Energy expects those funds to make a $5 billion profit.

Reuters named him one of the country’s top 10 green-tech “influencers” in 2010, along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and then-GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

As the former head of the federal government’s clean energy investment efforts, he has unique electric vehicle market expertise,” Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said in a statement. “His current work managing renewable energy investment programs for large companies will provide valuable insights to help us bolster Plug Power’s position within the broader markets for hydrogen and fuel cells.”

Plug Power (Nasdaq: PLUG) makes fuel cells mostly used to power forklifts in warehouses and distribution centers. Fuel cells are seen as an alternative to lead-acid batteries.

In the last decade, Plug has shipped more than 20,000 fuel cell units to dozens of customers including Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Nike (NYSE: NKE).

Plug Power has been looking to diversify its revenue under Marsh’s leadership by finding new applications for its technology beyond material handling. That includes finding applications in electric delivery vehicles, and partnering with companies in China.

Plug, headquartered in Latham, New York, is one of the largest manufacturers in the area and is also one of the area’s few public companies. Plug Power employs more than 600 engineers, researchers and technologists.

In 2018, Plug Power is on track to see gross revenues between $155 million and $180 million. Marsh said the company expects to break even by the second half of 2018.

Plug’s stock was selling at $1.94 on Tuesday morning.

Tom Shaw

Technical Education Post, Online Publisher

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