Plug power shares surge on revenue news

Beleaguered alternative-energy company Plug Power Inc. offered a positive funding update last week, helping to send its shares soaring and raising the possibility that its hydrogen plant near Graham will be built as planned.

Anticipated tax revenue of about $6 million from the proposed facility was factored into a decision by Olney Hamilton Hospital to sell $33 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction of a new hospital. Voters approved the issuance of the bond on Nov. 7 based in part on assurances that revenues from Plug Power and from wind farms would prevent the need to raise property taxes in Olney and Newcastle.

Plug Power said last week it had finalized a term-sheet negotiation with the Department of Energy for a $1.6 billion loan facility. The company, which is a pioneer in hydrogen cell technology, has been undergoing liquidity challenges, issuing a going-concern warning late last year.

“This funding, when received, will support the development, construction and ownership of up to six hydrogen production facilities, significantly advancing green-hydrogen deployment in the United States,” Plug Power chief executive officer Andrew Marsh said of the new Department of Energy agreement.

At the same time, “addressing the critical issue of cash management and resolving our going-concern is now our foremost priority,” he added. Plug Power plans to do so, in part, by raising prices and freezing hiring.

Marsh also announced Tuesday that the company’s Georgia plant is now operational. “While the construction took slightly longer than expected, it still progressed at a pace unmatched by other projects of comparable size and complexity in our sector and will continue as we anticipate that our joint-venture plant in St. Gabriel [Louisiana] with Olin will start its operation in the third quarter of 2024, positioning us as one of the largest liquid- hydrogen producers globally,” he said.

After Plug Power filed its going-concern warning, the company sent representatives in early December to provide assurances to the Graham City Council.

The Olney Hamilton Hospital board of directors has not spoken with Plug Power representatives, Board President Dale Lovett said.