FOCUS: New battery projects creating jobs, solutions

It’s a common question when it comes to any discussion about electric vehicles (EVs): What to do with the old batteries?

One huge solution is now on the way.

In February, the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office announced a $2 billion loan to Redwood Materials to build and expand a factory in Nevada that will recycle materials in spent lithium-ion batteries and recover anode and cathode materials that can be used to build new batteries. The funding was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The massive Nevada project is expected to create approximately 3,400 construction jobs and 1,600 full-time jobs once the plant is up and running. It’s one of the latest major announcements in what’s shaping up to be a very busy year across the country for clean energy.

To help stay on top of major projects like these – as well as smaller ones that could slip through the cracks –E2 is launching Clean Economy Works, a rundown delivered to your inbox near the beginning of each month of clean energy project announcements made possible in part due to the IRA and other recently enacted federal policies.

E2 has long expertise in this space: We’ve been closely tracking clean energy jobs and project announcements for more than a decade, and we know there’s never been a more crucial time to know what’s happening than now.

And what’s happening now is that battery projects are popping up everywhere.

A rendering of Redwood Materials’ expanded Nevada EV battery material manufacturing facility. Redwood Materials

Redwood’s Nevada factory is one of numerous battery-related projects announced in February that stem from federal policies, investments and tax credits.

In Michigan, Ford Motor Co. announced plans for a $2.5 billion electric vehicle battery factory that will create an estimated 2,500 jobs. In Wisconsin, WEC Energy Group announced plans in February for a $200 million long-duration energy storage facility in Milwaukee.

These projects are making America more competitive on the global marketplace – something that’s been desperately missing in some sectors. Currently, Asian countries led by China, Korea and Japan account for about 92 percent of the global market share for EV batteries. And of the 304 gigafactories being developed prior to IRA passing, just 23 were in North America.

Last month was a big step forward, but America will need many more as countries everywhere accelerate their own transition timetables. Millions of jobs and trillions in investments are up for grabs in the coming decade.

Want to stay on top of these announcements? Know someone who does? Please forward this to them and/or drop us a note at info@e2.org.

Quotable

“We can’t control the wind. We can’t control the sun. We know it’s going to be there most of the time. But when it’s not, we need to make sure that we can keep the lights on. And batteries are so great to continue and expand that clean energy.”

Brendan Conway, WEC Energy Group

“This investment will continue to bring the supply chain of electric vehicle batteries home to Michigan and make sure that production lines aren’t stalled by global shocks or shipping delays. We’re going to make electric vehicles top to bottom right here in the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D)

“It doesn’t pollute; it is the cheapest energy source. The technology we use is American-made.”

Dominika Sink, director of development, Energix

“As America’s most diverse industrial manufacturer of steel products, we will be able to efficiently supply this new plant, helping to ensure that our nation’s critical energy and digital infrastructure is built with the cleanest, most sustainable steel in the world.”

Leon Topalian, CEO, Nucor Corp.

“As we work to ensure our state is the e-mobility capital of the nation, projects like this will continue to choose the No. 1 state for business and benefit communities in just about every zip code of Georgia.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R)

“Hyundai’s new EV facility is drawing an experienced and dedicated supplier network to the [Savannah] region, adding to [Georgia’s] industry expertise and shaping a larger skilled workforce.”

Pat Wilson, Commissioner, Georgia Dept. of Economic Development

Opportunities

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Funding opportunities you can apply for today

“… [T]here is billions more in funding available today through competitive programs. … This document highlights funding opportunities that communities can apply for today, along with a calendar for funding opportunities across 2023.” Read more

EPA announces initial program design of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

“… [O]utlin[es] key parameters of the grant competitions that will ultimately award nearly $27 billion to leverage private capital for clean energy and clean air investments across the country.” Read more

Biden-Harris Administration announces historic investments to support America’s energy and industrial communities

“… [S]everal major programs to accelerate domestic clean energy manufacturing and ensure traditionally underserved communities benefit from clean energy technologies.” Read more

Floating Offshore Wind Shot

“… [A]n initiative to help usher in a clean energy future by driving U.S. leadership in floating offshore wind design, development, and manufacturing. … [S]eeks to reduce the cost of floating offshore wind energy by at least 70 percent, to $45 per megawatt-hour by 2035 for deep sites far from shore.” Read more

DOE announces $23 million to fund onsite energy Technical Assistance Partnerships to drive industrial decarbonization

“… [A] $23 million funding opportunity that will establish a regional network of TAPs to help industrial facilities and other large energy users increase the adoption of onsite energy technologies.” Read more

DOE’s American-Made Challenges: Perovskite Startup Prize

“… [A] two-stage, $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate the development and manufacturing of perovskite solar cells by moving world-class research out of the lab and into new U.S. companies. … The final cycle of the Countdown Contest opened in November and will close on March 23.” Read more

 

Funding Notice: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Pilot Demonstrations

“… [U]p to $74 million to support EGS pilot demonstration projects called for in President Biden’s landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The legislation authorizes DOE to support up to seven competitively selected pilot projects…” (Hurry! Intent letters due March 8) Read more

Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grants

“… [D]esigned to provide grants to small- and medium-sized manufacturers to enable them to build new or retrofit existing manufacturing and industrial facilities to produce or recycle advanced energy products in communities where coal mines or coal power plants have closed.” Read more

American-Made Net Load Forecasting Prize

“… designed to increase adoption of the state-of-the-art in net load forecasting. … [O]pen to forecasting industry organizations that cater to utilities, system operators, and power plant owners, as well as academic teams with machine learning capabilities that are interested in forecasting. … This prize offers up to $600,000 in cash prizes, with three anticipated winners and three anticipated runners-up.” Read more

February Clean Economy Announcements

In February, E2 tracked 21 projects across 15 states that will bring $7.5 billion in investments and create at least 9,528 jobs.

DATE COMPANY/ORG STATE ANNOUNCEMENT SECTOR DETAILS
2/1 Seoyon E-HWA GA Link EVs 740 Jobs
$76M
2/1 Piney River Solar LLC VA Link Solar Gen. 200 Jobs
50MW
2/3 Alliant Energy WI Link Energy Storage $200M
99 MW
2/7 Kempower NC Link EVs 601 Jobs
$41.2M
2/8 MSS Steel Tubes USA TN Link Solar Mfg. 129 Jobs
$6M
2/9 Redwood Materials NV Link Battery/Storage Mfg. 1600 Jobs
$2B
2/9 Pallidus SC Link Battery/Storage Mfg. 405 Jobs
$443M
2/9 Alpha Steel LLC TX Link Solar Mfg.
2/13 Ford & Contemporary Amperex Technology MS Link Battery/Storage Mfg. 2500 Jobs
$3.5B
35 GWh
2/15 Tritium TN Link Charging/Grid 250 Jobs
2/21 Sewon America GA Link EVs 740 Jobs
$300M
2/21 Duke Energy NC Link EVs
2/22 Ecobat AZ Link Battery/Storage Mfg. 60 Jobs
2/22 Nucor AL Link Charging/Grid 200 Jobs
$125M
2/23 May Renewables LLC SC Link Solar Gen. $70M
100 MW/400 MWh
2/23 Pine Gate Renewal MS Link Solar Gen. 300 Jobs
$115M
40 MW
2/26 Li-Cycle NY Link EVs 1270 Jobs
$375 Million
2/27 Dongwha Elecrolyte USA TN Link Battery/Storage Mfg. 68 Jobs
$75M
2/28 Stellantis IN Link EVs 265 Jobs
$155M
2/28 Nyle Systems ME Link Energy Efficiency 200 Jobs
$6M
2/28 Nel ASA CT Link Fuel-Cells/Hydrogen $24.8M

About Clean Economy Works Analysis

This analysis uses only publicly available information from announced funding and plans for clean energy projects, expansions, and renewed production. Projects that began development, were proposed, or applied for local and state approval before the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August of 2022 are not included.

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