Form Energy to build $760M battery plant in West Virginia

Form Energy to build $760M battery plant in West Virginia

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Dive Brief:

  • Battery manufacturer Form Energy will build its first commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Weirton, West Virginia, the company announced in December.
  • The company will invest up to $760 million to make iron-air batterieswhich Form says are longer-lasting, cheaper and more sustainably scalable than lithium iron batteries.
  • Construction is expected to start later this year, with production slated to begin in 2024, creating at least 750 full-time jobs.

Dive Insight:

Form Energy chose Weirton as the home of its facility out of 50 possible locations across 16 states, the company said in the release. The factory will be located at the site of a former steel plant, part of the city’s history as a major steel production town.

“At one point, Weirton was one of America’s most important steel towns— a national leader in steel production,” Gov. Jim Justice said in the Dec. 22 press release. “Now, this historic city is looking toward the future, and it’s very bright with Form Energy opening its doors.”

The former steel town will help Form Energy commercialize its iron-air batteries. The startup touts the technology’s long-lasting storage, able to store electricity for up to 100 hours, as a way to ease strain on the electric grid.

“This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation,” the company stated on its website.

Justice said that the West Virginia Economic Development Authority allocated $75 million toward purchasing 55 acres of property and construction for the site. He noted in the announcement that the state arranged a financial incentive package of up to $290 million in assets and performance to support Form Energy’s decision to choose Weirton.

Justice added that he plans on working with the state legislature and federal partners for an additional $215 million to finalize the agreement with Form Energy.

Form Energy was one of multiple manufacturers to announce building plans in West Virginia last year. In March, construction company Omnis Building Technologies broke ground on its $40 million150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Bluefield, West Virginia.

And in August, electric boat manufacturer Pure Watercraft unveiled plans to build an 80,000-square-foot production facility in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Like Form Energy, the company opted to open a facility at the site of a former steel plant.

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