FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear announced Monday that Kentucky will be the site of a car battery manufacturing and headquarters facility that could bring an investment of more than $600 million and create nearly 2,000 jobs.
The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries has chosen a 1,551 acre site near Glendale in Hardin County as the site for a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant. However, the project is dependent upon the Alliance receiving an unspecified amount of federal funding.
The Alliance is a not-for-profit industry consortium of more than 50 corporations, associations and research institutions that is trying to make the United States a world leader in manufacturing the batteries.
Kentucky was selected over seven other states for the project. Beshear compared it to the announcement that Toyota would produce the Camry in Georgetown about 20 years ago.
Monday’s announcement comes after Beshear unveiled last week a proposed federal research lab in Lexington that would play a key role in President Barack Obama’s push to put 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Beshear said the new lab — a state-run partnership of Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville — will help solidify Kentucky’s future in the automotive industry.
What is NAATBatt?
• NAATBatt is an organization composed of more than 50 member companies from across the battery industry in the United States. (3M, BASF and Procter and Gamble are just some of the more prominent alliance members).
• The alliance includes large and established battery manufacturers, venture capital-backed technology developers and materials manufacturers.
• The purpose of the industrywide consortium is to restore Lithium-ion manufacturing leadership in the United States so that a strong supporting supply chain is developed, domestic innovation is available to domestic car manufacturers and other battery users, and greater collaboration between industry sectors is fostered.
What is being proposed?
• NAATBatt is proposing a 1 million square foot campus that would consist of a headquarters, engineering, quality assurance area and production buildings.
• Upon completion of the campus, as many as 2,000 people will be employed full-time at the facilities with an average annual salary in excess of $40,000.
• An estimated 1,500 construction-related jobs would also be created for a period of 12 to 18 months.
• The facilities will be built on 1,551 acres of state-owned land in Glendale, Ky. The land is adjacent to Interstate 65 and the CSX rail line and is within 45 minutes of Louisville International Airport.
• The area is also in close proximity to the national Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center whose mission is to help develop and deploy a domestic supply of advanced battery technologies for vehicle applications. The center is being developed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in partnership with Chicago-based Argonne, the country’s leading federal lab for transportation-related research, and the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville.
• Production lines in the facilities will house state-of-the-art equipment with the flexibility to pursue multiple production ideas and products at one time.
How will the project become a reality?
• The project is expected to result from an investment in excess of $600 million – an investment made possible through a unique partnership among the consortium, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the federal government.
• The land proposed for the site will be provided at no cost to the alliance. Kentucky has or is investing some $200 million in the facility and surrounding area. Under the proposal, which is still being finalized, Kentucky would invest up to $100 million to assist in construction of the facility.
• About $10 million in infrastructure improvements – water, sewer, electric and natural gas service – will be completed.
• Nearly $44 million will be identified in the state’s six-year road plan to improve site access and the Exit 86 interchange on Interstate 65.
• The Commonwealth is proposing up to $10 million in training assistance.
• The additional dollars will be invested through a combination of funds from the Federal Recovery Act and NAATBatt. President Obama’s administration has set aside $2 billion for electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturing initiative as part of the federal stimulus. The size of the remaining investment will be determined by the availability of competitive federal stimulus dollars available.
What is the timeline?
• Mid-January: Secretaries Larry Hayes and Len Peters continue discussions with Argonne, which results in meetings with NAATBatt officials.
• Feb. 20: Members of NAATBatt alliance meet with Gov. Beshear and economic development team in Frankfort to discuss project and Kentucky’s interest.
• Feb. 21: Gov. Beshear and Secretary Peters discuss potential of project and energy plan with Energy Secretary Chu in Washington, D.C.
• March 20: Kentucky made a proposal to NAATBatt to compete for the proposed facility. Seven other states also submitted competitive proposals.
• April 3: NAATBatt members traveled to Kentucky for a site visit. (Multiple locations were reviewed).
• April 10: Kentucky was notified that the Glendale, Ky., location had been selected as the preferred site for application to the Department of Energy.
• May 19: An application for federal stimulus dollars must be submitted to the Department of Energy. The application is currently being developed.
• Summer 2009: The Federal Stimulus Act states that activities that can be started and completed quickly will be given preference for competitive funding. The goal of the federal stimulus is to use at least 50 percent of available funding no later than June 17, 2009.
- Jack Brammer