Groundbreaking has taken place for a manufacturing hub in West Virginia, US, to be powered by a large-scale solar-plus-storage microgrid, using Our Next Energy’s grid-scale battery technology.
An event was held last Saturday (4 March), attended by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Jim Justice at the site in Ravenswood, Jackson County.
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The US$500 million manufacturing park’s first occupant will be a titanium melt facility owned by Precision Castparts Corp, which is owned by investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway group.
The site’s microgrid is being delivered by Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s BHE Renewables subsidiary. Using solar PV in combination with the Our Next Energy (ONE) battery energy storage system (BESS), the site’s production is aimed at being 100% renewable energy-powered.
ONE is aiming to become one of the US’ first major manufacturers of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells, closing a US$300 million fund raise earlier this year for its first planned factory in Michigan.
Additionally, the startup has developed its own BESS solution, called Aries Grid, alongside its range of battery rack solutions for electric vehicles (EVs). Aries Grid is available in 2MWh, 3MWh and 6MWh containerised versions with up to 4-hour discharge duration and a cycle life quoted as >5500 cycles.
In addition to supplying an Aries Grid BESS to the BHE Energy microgrid, ONE will also locate its own Aries Grid factory at the Ravenswood manufacturing park, with a planned investment of US$22 million on top of the half-billion dollars the site already accounts for.
ONE did not respond to an enquiry from Energy-Storage.news as to the planned initial or fully-ramped annual production capacity of the factory in time ahead of publication of this story, but a press release from governor Jim Justice said it would occupy 40,000 square feet of the park.
Similarly, ONE did not reveal the planned output or capacity of the Aries Grid BESS to be deployed at the site when asked. However, Justice’s statement referred to the BHE Renewable Energy microgrid being “estimated at 420MWh,” implying that the scale of the project and mix of different technologies is yet to be determined.
BHE Renewables and the state of West Virginia entered a purchase agreement in September last year for more than 2,000 acres of land to host the renewable energy-powered industrial site, while additional businesses are being sought by BHE Renewables and the state’s Economic Development Authority.
Justice recently signed off on a deal to bring ‘multi-day’ energy storage company Form Energy to West Virginia for the construction of its first factory, making the startup’s proprietary iron-air battery storage tech. Form Energy will get a US$105 million incentive package from the state.
“This investment will provide good-paying jobs, help onshore battery supply chains and boost American manufacturing,” Senator Manchin said of the ONE factory.
“Our state is just beginning to realise the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and I can’t wait to see the Mountain State continue our legacy as America’s energy powerhouse.”
Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.