Gov. Jim Justice announced today that Form Energy, Inc. (Form Energy) will partner with the State of West Virginia to build its first iron-air battery manufacturing facility on 55 acres of property in the northern panhandle of West Virginia, along the Ohio River, in the city of Weirton. The new battery manufacturing plant is expected to create a minimum of 750 new full-time jobs and will represent a total investment of up to $760 million.
“Weirton is long overdue for some incredible news,” Gov. Justice said. “At one point, Weirton was one of America’s most important steel towns— a national leader in steel production. Now, this historic city is looking toward the future, and it’s very bright with Form Energy opening its doors. We structured a unique financial incentive package worth up to $290 million in asset-based, performance financing to support their decision to locate in Weirton.
“The funds put toward this project are guaranteed, secured, and collateralized through ownership of all land and buildings by the state. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority allocated $75 million toward the purchase of land and the construction of buildings in Weirton this morning. I plan on working with the West Virginia Legislature and our federal partners to obtain an additional $215 million needed to finalize our agreement. Resiliency and reliability of power resources for America will be produced in West Virginia, once again, allowing Weirton to be a national leader of this growing industry.”
The electric grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy without sacrificing reliability or cost. Form Energy is an American energy storage technology and manufacturing company that is developing and commercializing an iron-air battery capable of storing electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants. The company’s pioneering multi-day battery will reshape the electric system to reliably run on 100% low-cost renewable energy, every day of the year.
“After a year-long nationwide site selection process that started with identifying over 500 candidate locations across 16 states, it became abundantly clear that Weirton, West Virginia – a historic steel community that sits on a river and has the rich heritage and know-how to make great things out of iron – is the ideal location for our first commercial battery production factory,” Mateo Jaramillo, Co-founder and CEO of Form Energy said. “We look forward to working with Weirton community leaders in the coming months to determine how we can best support the needs of local residents in the area through lasting community partnership and engagement.”
“We appreciate West Virginia’s pro-business landscape, streamlined processes, and commitment to workforce development,” Jaramillo added. “We are especially thankful to Governor Jim Justice, Secretary Mitch Carmichael, Speaker of the House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw, Senate President Craig Blair, and the local officials in Hancock County for their collaboration and support, which will bring well-paid, full-time employment opportunities and cost-effective, safe batteries to advance American innovation.”
“We are so glad that Form Energy said yes to West Virginia and are excited to welcome the company to Weirton,” West Virginia Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael said. “We will continue to support them in any way we can. Creating 750 jobs and investing $760 million in our state is not something to take lightly, and we can’t wait to see how this company will thrive with our strong workforce. I hope that West Virginia will continue manufacturing batteries for years to come.”
Form Energy expects to start construction of its Weirton factory in 2023 and begin manufacturing iron-air battery systems in 2024 for broad commercialization.
“The entire state should share in our excitement today as Form Energy, with its revolutionary technology, is choosing West Virginia,” Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw said. “Not only will this facility and this investment truly change the Northern Panhandle as we’ve known it for the past generation, but it also will build on the state’s prominent role of powering the nation as we lead the way in bringing affordable, reliable, renewable energy to the marketplace.”
“I could not be more excited about today’s announcement with Form Energy and this incredible opportunity for both the City of Weirton and the State of West Virginia,” West Virginia State Senator Ryan Weld said. “While this announcement is tremendous news for us all, it’s also personal for me: I grew up in downtown Weirton, and my grandfathers worked at Weirton Steel. If Weirton’s past tells us anything about its future, it is that the people there will make this an incredibly successful endeavor. I look forward to working with officials from the state and Form Energy as we begin this new chapter in Weirton’s history.”
“Today’s announcement is welcome news for Weirton and the entire Mountain State,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said. “Form Energy’s new manufacturing plant will bring clean and innovative energy technologies to West Virginia and put to good use the vast skills of our people to help ensure our country’s energy security. West Virginia continues to be a leader in energy innovation, and the good-paying jobs and new economic opportunities this will bring are exactly what I had in mind as I negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act. I have said it time and again: The path forward is innovation, not elimination, and with this announcement West Virginia and Form Energy are doing just that.”
“Once again, West Virginia has won a highly competitive process to bring new jobs and opportunities to the Mountain State,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said. “Today’s announcement was truly a collaborative effort, and I want to congratulate Governor Justice, Secretary Carmichael, and the leadership of the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates in working together to bring Form Energy to our Northern Panhandle. If West Virginia is going to continue to be an energy state, we must embrace new technologies, but also tell our story on a national and global level. I look forward to working with the visionary leadership of Form Energy as they ramp up their production in West Virginia, and look forward to more positive developments for our home state in the future.”