West Virginia has been mining coal for over 200 years, but the state has begun shifting its focus to clean energy production. Governor Jim Justice recently announced a partnership with Michigan-based company Our Next Energy (ONE) to bring a long-duration battery storage factory to the state.
ONE will use the West Virginia site to manufacture its Aries Grid, a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) utility-scale battery system that can serve as long-duration energy storage. Aries Grid can store energy created by solar and wind and use it to power factories, data centers, and communities.
And the Aries Grid can provide 100% renewable energy storage that is available 24/7.
The coolest part? Aries Grid uses LFP chemistry based on iron, which is an abundant resource, making it significantly lower in cost. It’s also more durable and has double the lifetime energy throughput than alternatives made with nickel, cobalt, and manganese chemistries (NCM).
This new facility is great news for the state of West Virginia, which is the second-largest coal producer in the U.S. — an industry that provides around 11,000 of the state’s residents with jobs. The health risks associated with coal mining are well-documented, so creating clean energy jobs as an alternative is critical.
“Today’s announcement is a proud day for all West Virginians,” Governor Justice said in a press statement. “The Aries Grid battery storage system manufacturing facility enables hardworking West Virginians to continue their legacy producing America’s energy.”
Located next to the facility is a first-of-it’s-kind solar energy microgrid-powered industrial site. Berkshire Hathaway Energy Renewables (BHE Renewables) announced the initial clean energy investment in 2022.
Precision Castparts (PCC), a Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. business, will be the first to locate on the site and will develop a state-of-the-art titanium melt facility that will use 100% renewable energy to manufacture titanium products for aerospace and other industries.
BHE Renewables selected ONE as its partner for utility-scale battery storage. Together, the two factories will create about 300 clean energy jobs.
“The BHE Renewables microgrid project, estimated at 420 MWh, in Jackson County represents a historic transition to renewable energy-based manufacturing in the U.S. and establishes a standard for others to follow,” Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO and founder of ONE said, according to Electrek.
“Building upon BHE Renewables’ commitment to this site and the state of West Virginia,” Ijaz continued, “ONE’s first Aries Grid factory will bring even more jobs and investment to this area to help clear a path to a carbon-free manufacturing future.”
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