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HP Enterprise cogeneration plant in Aguadilla is the co.’s 1st in the world

The liquified natural gas facility that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is building in Aguadilla will be the first in the world for the technology giant, which is preparing to stay in Puerto Rico for the long-run, Mark Bakker, general manager of Global Operations for HPE, told News is my Business.

HPE´s facility in Aguadilla is a critical specialty manufacturing and supply chain operations hub for its hardware and software businesses. In particular, the site provides end-to-end integrated software lifecycle management and fulfillment.

To continue to benefit from doing business in Puerto Rico, the company is investing to make sure that the site is resilient in the face of disaster.

Although HPE did not disclose how much it plans to invest in the future energy cogeneration facility, earlier this month, Aguadilla Mayor Julio Roldán disclosed that the company will put $13 million into the project that broke ground last week.

“This is a plant that will be placed on our campus that will be available to us, and once completed, it will provide sufficient electricity for the plants to continue operating,” in case of a power outage, Bakker said.

“We’ll still be connected to the local grid. The [cogeneration plant] builds this incremental resilience for our operation, which runs continuously it will help us in extreme weather conditions to keep our operation running,” he said.

“This is brand new and to my knowledge, from the various operations we run, this is this is a unique new opportunity for us to invest in and to strengthen the operation that way,” he said.

Throughout the world, HPE works with third-party providers to ensure resiliency of their operations that through energy and water conservation, but HPE “doesn’t own many operations around the world like Puerto Rico is so therefore, this is a good opportunity for us to look at how can we do this, how can we invest and work together with local government on making those investments to make it more resilient and sustainable overall.”

Staying put in Aguadilla
HPE has been present in Aguadilla for 40 years, where it employs about 730 people, 80% of whom have been with the company for more than five years — when the company split in two, creating HPE and Hewlett Packard Inc.

Last month, the latter business confirmed it will shut down its operation by May 2022, vacating a building that HPE owns. Its departure will affect about 400 jobs, of which 150 are direct Hewlett Packard Inc. employees.

Bakker said HPE will be evaluating its options for the available space, which it may use for its own operations, or sublet to other tenants.

He also said HPE will “selectively look at available employees coming from there,” although no conversations with HP Inc. have yet begun. “HP Inc. has work to do in terms of how they’re going to exit.”

An important part of the reason for HPE’s longevity in Puerto Rico is the support it receives from the municipal and central governments. Last week, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce confirmed it has granted several incentives: a 4% tax rate on income; a 75% exemption on property taxes; and a 50% exemption in the payment of municipal taxes, News is my Business confirmed.

As for HPE’s pipeline for 2022, the Aguadilla operation will continue to manufacture computing components, such as motherboards to be used in its server product lines, and growing its high performance computing business, Bakker said.

The Puerto Rico operation also currently provides software fulfillment and software subscription services, so it is “a fundamental a piece of the operation. We also provide oversight from engineering supply chain planning as well as fulfillment activities for many factories around the world that produce our hardware.”

“I think it’s fair to say we would not be making significant investments, strengthening the resilience of that operation, if we were not convinced and committed to staying put in a Aguadilla for years to come,” he added.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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