On the latest episode of Policy Outsider, Rockefeller Institute President Bob Megna and Kevin Younis, executive deputy commissioner and chief operating officer at Empire State Development, return to the podcast to discuss the latest $10 billion investment in Albany’s NanoTech Complex for a new High Numerical Aperture Extreme Ultraviolet (NA EUV) Lithography Center. The conversation covers who the stakeholders are in this $10 billion deal, how partnerships between private industry and government came together and landed on upstate New York as the future of the semiconductor industry, and what that means for the New York economy.
Bob Megna, president, Rockefeller Institute of Government
Kevin Younis, executive deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, Empire State Development
Transcript was generated using AI software and may contain errors.
Alexander Morse 00:04
Hi and welcome to Policy Outsider presented by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. I’m Alex Morse. On today’s episode, we’re going to dive into the latest developments and groundbreaking projects shaping the economic and technologic landscape of New York. Rockefeller Institute President Bob Megna and Kevin Younis, executive deputy commissioner and chief operating officer at Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, return to the podcast to discuss the latest $10 billion investment in Albany’s NanoTech Complex for a new High NA EUV Lithography Center. I promise Bob and Kevin will go over what all of that means. Bob and Kevin also discuss who the stakeholders are in this $10 billion deal and how partnerships between private industry and government came together and landed on upstate New York as the future of the semiconductor industry and what that means for the New York economy. Coming up next.
Bob Megna 01:18
Hi, this is Bob Megna, Rockefeller Institute of Government. And we’re lucky enough today to have Kevin Younis, economic development agency for New York State ESD. And we have Kevin when we have good things to talk about in New York and economic development. And we had him here, I think last year to talk about the great Micron amounts for the governor and the project ESD worked on for a long time. And today we want to talk about some news up at the NanoTech center in Albany. Again, I think, which exemplifies great work done by the governor, and by the ESD folks. And let’s jump in. So Kevin, can you provide a little bit of an overview of the $10 billion semiconductor research and development project at NY CREATES at the Albany center?
Kevin Younis 02:22
Yeah, yeah. Thanks for having me, Bob. Glad to talk with you again. I was listening to our discussion just over a year ago, trying to make sure I didn’t say the same stupid things and come up with new interesting ways to talk about this. And we talked about this particular tool. We talked about High NA EUV. And so what is this investment, it’s a $10 billion investment. It’s $1 billion from the state and leveraging $9 billion from our private sector partners. It includes industry luminaries such as IBM, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron. Micron is a new partner here in the Albany NanoTech Complex, which is really exciting because they had the central New York project that’s going to be breaking ground next year. And so this investment brings them because this this technology, the High NA EUV technology is a critical path tool for them in the semiconductor manufacturing.
Bob Megna 03:21
Great. Let me ask some questions about it. Now. I actually have this written out for me because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pronounce it. And well, maybe you could tell us a little what is high numerical aperture extreme ultraviolet lithography? And really, this is like the next step in what’s been a process—how would you describe what they’re what they’re trying to do and and how it sets us up for the long run.
Kevin Younis 03:50
So semiconductor industry is a history of getting smaller and smaller features, smaller and smaller chips. And why does that matter? It matters because smaller chips means more chips in your ability to do more things. Your phone, for example. You know, when the governor announced this, she talked about your phone has more computing power than existed on the planet in 1950. It’s millions of times more processing and memory than put a man on the moon, your phone alone, right? And that’s because the chips got smaller and smaller, which means more and more capabilities to do processing, to do memory. So that continues and what this tool does is that allows for really small features to be put on chips. So, it’s insane, the things the size of the bus. My colleagues tell me I’m a dork, but it shoots lasers at droplets of tin, 50,000 times a second. The light produced from that tin getting hit produces a wavelength that is used to make features on chip and can make them smaller. Arguably the world’s most common complex machine ever. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars that is taken decades to produce. And it’s made by one company on the planet. And so it is a critical path item for advanced semiconductor manufacturing made by one company in the world. And Albany NanoTech will be the only institution in North America with a publicly owned facility and publicly owned tool.
Bob Megna 03:51
So, Kevin, you mentioned industry partnerships. Maybe you can talk a little bit more about that. How do the partnerships with the major semiconductor industry leaders like you mentioned IBM, you mentioned Micron, new to this, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron. How do they contribute to this cutting edge technology? And why is it important for them to be here.
Kevin Younis 05:51
So my non-semiconductor expert interpretation, the tool produces layers on a wafer, but there’s hundreds of layers, and there’s tons of different inputs. So when you change that tool, it has implications for the entire process. So folks like Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, who make other tools, you know, that before that wafer comes into, and it gets exposed to the UV tool, it may have gone through a ton of Applied Materials tools, or Tokyo Electron tools to deposit other layers. I think of it as you’re making a different type of bread. And you might put more yeast in that to make the different bread, but that impacts your baking time, the temperature may be how much salt you put in, it changes everything about that bread and the process for making it and I think, you know, again, trying to explain it to my mother and friends, that, you know, that’s why, you know, when you change this tool, it has implications on the entire process. And so folks like Tokyo Electron who will supply tools to Micron to TSMC, in their process, have to be able to make sure the things they’re doing before, and the things are doing after produces quality chips quickly, repetitively. And so the entire process, chemicals involved, the types of heat and timing, all that has changed by changing this key tool in the process. So when they’re here, they can figure out what the implications are for that change, then they can make, you know, somebody like Micron, they want to perfect their process, they want to say, I want to make chips, I want to make them as fast as I can as high quality as I can. But it’s the entire process they have to figure out and the implications from start to finish. And all of those partners, help them do it having them here, they’ll be able to do it in real time, every day.
Bob Megna 07:40
It’s fascinating, and I’m going to steal the bread analogy. I like that, you know, with any economic development, you always want to talk about the impact on job creation and things like that. So the recent announcement of the new center mentions the creation of new direct jobs and indirect jobs. Can you elaborate a little bit on what you think the future holds in terms of employment for both the region and the state?
Kevin Younis 08:08
You know, there’s a lot of ways to think about the the economic impacts of the tool like this, and the investments at Albany NanoTech that we’ve engaged in over the last 30 plus years. So first of all, you’ve got, you know, 700 direct jobs associated with these partners who announced this with us a month ago. But that’s really just the beginning. You know, when we think about direct jobs, this industry is, I think, unique in the multiplier effect is how many jobs does it create in association, what is the economic impact? So I’ve seen five jobs for each direct job. I’ve seen $16 for each dollar of public investment at the end of the day, what that means is a lot more people come here, law more people making decent pay a lot more people buying things, and they go out and they go to restaurants and they go to a retail centers, right, they go to hotels, their communities are impacted. Even if you’re not in the industry, even you’re not sitting there with a bunny suit on and working on this tool. The positive economic impacts will reverberate throughout this community. But then the other thing Bob is more than any other industry in the history of mankind. I said do the tool this High NA EUV tool is the most complex piece of equipment ever made in the history of mankind. It’s insane what goes into it. But R&D and smart people are the critical input for this industry. And this industry is the most important industry in the world today, right? There is nothing you have that is electronic that doesn’t depend on semiconductor chips. If we think about autonomous vehicles, if we think about AI, if we think about wind turbines if we think about batteries, and all of them require this technology. And so, this is when you when you, okay I want to make chips. What do I need to do to do that? I need power, right? I need water. I need people and I need R&D and those things are critical inputs. And so going back 16 years ago to Global Foundries, the one of the reasons they chose New York was what was happening Albany NanoTech at the time. Global Foundries made that decision because there were smart people here, they could look to that research, they can get talent. Micron said to me, I said, Why are you guys coming here? They said, and I told you this last year, one of the reasons literally was Albany NanoTech. You know, you have the direct jobs, you have the direct spend, you have the leverage spend, then you have this key input, right that this industry has to have to continue to thrive and be competitive here in New York that brings more manufacturing and brings it not to mention the NSTC and you know, there’s billions of dollars of federal money that will come and will bring 1000s of more people and hundreds of millions of dollars of more investment. And so it’s real, it’s real for everybody. It’s real for the folks on the machine. And it’s real for the folks running the restaurants and, you know, selling the goods and moving the goods. And it’s it’s incredible economic impact.
Bob Megna 11:14
Again, maybe it’s fair to say we’re reaching scale with this industry in the capital region, which you know, was not true 10 years ago.
Kevin Younis 11:24
That’s right. You spend a billion dollars, you need to know you have the partners who are going to use the tool and produce economic benefit for the people that’s in New York, right? You don’t do it because it’s nice. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a billion dollar tool here. And so you do it because you want to bring jobs and opportunities. The governor has been very intentional from the day she started about getting this industry, we saw the Federal CHIPS Act recognizing the needs to secure this industry in the US. And the governor immediately said, it’s going to happen in the US, make it happen in New York. We did GREEN Chips, right, $10 billion. She did FAST New York, which is this investment in infrastructure. Where we need to do the infrastructure. So people, when businesses come, they have someplace to put their facilities. She’s done to workforce development, she created the GO-Semi Office, she announced this project last month, it’s those are workforce, places, R&D, all of that are key critical investments and the incentives, obviously, to make this industry happen in New York, and the unique moment to do that.
Bob Megna 12:29
Great. And you you just mentioned workforce development and education. So maybe we should talk about that a little. So this project does emphasize commitments to workforce development and sustainability. Can you discuss the strategies, you know, that you guys are going through to kind of develop the workforce in New York and make sure it’s a sustainable part of the economy?
Kevin Younis 12:57
Workforce everywhere is the most important. But when everybody’s trying to enter the US is trying to think about how they secure this industry and support this industry workforce is number one, two, and three, that’s it’s the most important thing we have to get right. And we have to help the companies secure it. And so every one of our partners has commitments to workforce development to STEM training, specifically with SUNY, but with other institutions as well. We have great institutions across all of upstate, from RIT to folks in the North Country at Clarkson, Syracuse University, lot of great partners. So there’s going to be tons of partnerships with academic institutions, even, you know, the community colleges, we’re going to see those two year community colleges enhance their partnerships with us with all of these folks that are doing this, what we want as public officials in New York, who want to see opportunities for the people that live and work here, but also it’s what the industry has to have to succeed in talking about sustainability. Sustainability is critically important to the industry, sustainability is critically important to New York into the governor. So we have a commitment, the building itself will be constructed in a very sustainable way. So we’ll have LEED certification, the power used to run the building will be provided via the purchase of renewable energy credits. A key part of the research direction for these companies, how do they make the chips more sustainably? But as important how do those chips operate more sustainably, right? So they use less energy, that means less electricity has got to be made. And given the ubiquitous nature of these chips to power everything in that, you know, if you think about cars, if those chips are more efficient, and actually interesting, and then a smaller chips, inherently are more efficient. And so the tools that we make, the processes that we use will be more sustainable by using less chemicals by using less power, but ultimately, maybe more importantly, to produce chips that can can be used to you use less power in other products.
Bob Megna 15:01
It’s interesting. It really is. And it’s fascinating how if you’re involved with these projects, you become a little bit more expert in how they’re going to be used and things like that. But maybe that leads into the next thing I want to talk about with you, which is the role of New York and the federal government. I mean, you’ve been talking about them, we’ve been talking about the investment New York has made and has been making, can you give us some insight and where you think that money, the billion dollars will actually get spent. And then, you know, what’s next in terms of the technology and where this whole NanoFab location and development is going.
Kevin Younis 15:46
So in terms of the state’s billion, it’s, it’s pretty simple. It’s roughly $500 million for the tool and the supporting. And then the other $500 million is for the new cleanroom. So this tool, as I said, it’s a size of a bus, it’s so large, that current cleanroom designs can’t, it’s too big, it’s too big to put in, you’d have to lift the ceilings, and it’s just, you have to build new cleanroom. Everybody who is going to use this tool, all the manufacturers are gonna have to design new cleanroom space to accommodate. But it’s also a new cleanroom space to accommodate all the new partners. So billion dollars from the state, $500 and $500. We expect that this investment, we felt we were uniquely positioned to get a substantial portion of what’s called the National Semiconductor Technology Center investment. So when the CHIPS Act, the Federal CHIPS Act passed, Senator Schumer, clearly a lead in that, $11 billion of that $52 billion is for National Semiconductor Technology Center. What what is that? It’s about research, the US has maintained sort of the lead in the technology development, we’ve lost the manufacturing to the rest of the world. And we’re trying to bring that back. What’s what the CHIPS Act is about, we have maintained the primacy in the R&D. But this makes sure we continue to do that. We expect that a substantial amount of that $11 billion will come to New York. I mean, Senator Schumer has said he expects that as well. There is just isn’t another institution in the nation that is like this institution. Every single time we have a group come, no matter who they are. We had a Taiwanese delegation last year, and one of the things they said to me was, it’s your secret weapon. It shouldn’t be a secret, right. And, you know, we’re not trying to make it a secret. But you know, you don’t always it’s so sometimes hard to communicate to folks the importance of it, and I don’t even understand it sometimes. So we think semiconductors, most important industry, really, for the advancement of so many other industries, having this the most advanced tool in the US, in the world, here in Albany, you know, has the real opportunities we talked about for real people, but it has national security implications. It has economic security implications. It’s, it’s an amazing opportunity for New York to really continue to strengthen our position in this industry.
Bob Megna 18:13
Yeah, it’s interesting, you mentioned the security issues, because and maybe this is a way to sum up a little bit, I’m interested in your opinion on this, without government help and support, do projects like this ever get done.
Kevin Younis 18:31
So it can get done. The High NA tool will be purchased by these massive, incredibly financed companies, they will get these tools. But in terms of bringing it to a place where partners in the entire ecosystem can afford to access it. That wouldn’t happen without government support. The reality is the industry because of how incredibly expensive the technologies, you’re making these incredibly tiny things require so much money to make the tools to do the research to to make them there’s only a handful of companies on the planet that are still making chips right. They’ve become fewer and fewer and bigger and bigger. And so without public investment, both in terms of the R&D. And in terms of incentives for the companies to come here. I don’t think it happens in New York. It really doesn’t. But R&D has always been something that government has done. I mean, go back to, you know, the race to the moon and all that came up around that. It’s a thing that government does better because it does it for everybody. And there’s a broader benefit and that’s if a company does it itself. Understandably it spends its own money will own that technology. But if government coming in and really supporting it and addressing where where the private sector won’t do it is critically important.
Bob Megna 19:47
What do you see as the future what future projects what where does this go from here?
Kevin Younis 19:53
Right now, the micron project Global Foundries is considering substantial expansion of their work in Malta. This facility here, there’s a lot to do to get all those opportunities advancing. You know, as we talked about before, the reason you incentivize a Micron to the degree we did is the supply chain, the all those opportunities with the folks that make the tools, all those opportunities, were the folks that make the chemicals and do the things that are necessary to make a semiconductor, the COVID exposed the over reliance on that, and the fragility of, of the supply chain in this industry. And so, you know, Micron said to me, at one point, I want to see my tier one suppliers and tier two suppliers from our window in central New York. And so the opportunity here exists to bring more manufacturing for other manufacturers. Also, to to bring in those supply chain partners, right, those are also great jobs. We have this Remy, as we talked about last year, did an estimate around Micron 9000 direct jobs, but over 50,000, direct and indirect, that’s the supply chain. So you 40,000+ other jobs that come with those 9000. That’s what there’s a huge opportunity there. So Micron has to start building and build the fab. The best economic development tool we can do in this state, is make sure they get that thing built on time and operating. Because New York clearly has the power, New York clearly has the water. But folks want to know that New York can deliver on the construction of these high tech projects in a timely manner and on schedule. If we can show the world we can do that. The reality is so many of our competitors, especially nationally don’t have the power don’t have the water. If we can get this facility built on time and operational and help them succeed. It will be the greatest economic development marketing and economic development tool we can have in the state because other folks will say New York’s figured it out.
Bob Megna 21:56
Kevin, listen, I’d like to thank you again for doing this. Anything you’d like to end up on? Or…
Kevin Younis 22:02
I will say to you, I said this to you last year, it’s a lot of fun to be doing this stuff. It’s to be involved in an opportunity that has these geopolitical, you know, we’re talking about Taiwan and the implications of China and what may happen there. But then talking about opportunities for folks in historically distressed census tracts among the poorest tracks in this State, we can do this right, we can change that dynamic. And so it’s a real pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to be doing that really high level geopolitical and then trying to make sure we do this in a way that provides opportunity sustainably, but for folks who have been on the outside looking in. It’s a cool space.
Bob Megna 22:43
Yeah, I mean, as a budget guy, I’m always think it’s important for us when we spend money, that we have people come on and talk about what the future potential is and how, what how it’s going to help the state in the long run. Yeah. So again, thanks for coming in. Thanks for doing it.
Kevin Younis 23:01
Oh, my pleasure. It’s always nice to talk with you Bob.
Alexander Morse 23:07
Thanks again to Kevin Younis, Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer at Empire State Development, and Rockefeller Institute President Bob Megna for shedding light on the exciting developments in the semiconductor industry and the promising future it holds for New York. If you want to listen to more about the semiconductor industry in New York State, check out our previous conversation with Kevin Younis on the $100 billion Micron deal. And also a conversation with Dave Anderson, president ofNY CREATES on the tapestry that is advanced manufacturing, and how research and development, economic development, workforce development, and much much more drives innovation. If you’d liked this episode, please share it with a friend. It will help others find the podcast and help us deliver the latest in public policy research. All of our episodes are available for free wherever you stream your podcasts and transcripts are available on our website. Special thanks to Rockefeller Institute staff Rachel Frascella and Heather Trela for their contributions to this episode. Thanks for listening. I’m Alex Morse. Until next time.
Alexander Morse 24:26
Policy Outsider is presented by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts cutting edge, nonpartisan public policy research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the challenges facing New York State and the nation. Learn more at Rock institute.org or by following at Rockefeller inst. That’s Rockefeller i n s t on social media. Have a question comment or idea? Email us at [email protected]
“Policy Outsider” from the Rockefeller Institute of Government takes you outside the halls of power to understand how decisions of law and policy shape our everyday lives.
Listen to a full episode archive on Anchor, or subscribe on your preferred podcast platform.