Weirton, West Virginia – Form Energy, Inc., a technology company specializing in cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems, held a groundbreaking ceremony for Form Factory 1, their first large-scale manufacturing facility. This milestone was celebrated alongside federal, state, and local officials, customers, investors, and stakeholders from the region, emphasizing the significant investment made by West Virginia taxpayers.
Form Energy evaluated over 500 potential locations across 16 states before selecting Weirton, West Virginia as the home for their factory. The 55-acre site was chosen for its advantageous proximity to rail, highways, and the Ohio River.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm lauded the groundbreaking, highlighting the positive impact it would have on energy communities that have been instrumental in powering the nation. She commended the incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, which have encouraged companies to invest in America, strengthen energy security, and foster domestic manufacturing while creating employment opportunities.
Form Energy’s CEO, Mateo Jaramillo, expressed his gratitude to the leaders and individuals who played a pivotal role in reaching this milestone. He emphasized the significance of manufacturing energy storage systems in West Virginia, aligning with the company’s mission to transform the electric grid and create a better world. Notable figures contributing to the project include U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Governor Jim Justice, and Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael, among others.
Form Factory 1 will commence the manufacturing and assembly of iron-air battery systems, aiming for broad commercialization by mid-to-late 2024. Once operating at full capacity, the facility is projected to employ at least 750 individuals and boast an impressive annual production capacity of 500 megawatts of batteries.
Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, highlighted the significance of West Virginia’s role as an energy powerhouse, stating that the groundbreaking showcased the state’s commitment to energy security and independence. He credited the Inflation Reduction Act for facilitating this type of investment, which would reinvigorate the community and leverage the region’s natural resources.
Form Energy partnered with the State of West Virginia to establish Form Factory 1, representing a substantial direct investment of up to $760 million. The state’s financial incentive package, totaling approximately $290 million in asset-based, performance financing, further underscores the commitment of West Virginia taxpayers to the project.
Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael expressed his pride in Weirton’s selection as the location for Form Energy’s battery manufacturing facility. He emphasized the importance of the project in creating new, well-paying manufacturing jobs and promoting economic revitalization in the Northern Panhandle, all while building upon the community’s steel legacy.
The approval of $105 million in funding for Form Energy faced a heated debate among West Virginia legislators. However, an amendment to deny funding for the battery plant on the former Weirton Steel site, which would generate 750 jobs, was ultimately rejected. The disagreement stemmed from differences in views regarding Form Energy’s stance on fossil fuels, as the company advocates for renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, the state’s investment will be activated once the company invests $50 million of its own and creates 200 jobs, as outlined by the Office of Economic Development.
The construction of Form Factory 1 marks a significant step forward in the realization of Form Energy’s vision for a sustainable energy future. With West Virginia taxpayers’ investment and the support of federal, state, and local officials, the project demonstrates the commitment to transforming the energy landscape while bolstering the region’s economy.