A major announcement for the city of Weirton from Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Economic Development Authority could lead to the return of hundreds of jobs.
At the former site of Weirton Steel, the WVEDA has approved a $75 million incentive package in order to house a new home for Form Energy.
“It really just marks the beginning of what is going to be a very bright future for the former Weirton Steel site,” Sen. Ryan Weld said.
The iron-air battery manufacturing facility could potentially serve as a huge economic boost for the region, as it is expected to employ 750 people.
“It’s batteries that have never been used before, they’re clean batteries, they’re environmentally safe,” said Jacob Keeney, assistant executive director, BDC Northern Panhandle.
“They store a lot of electric. And it is really going to help solve some of the energy crisis issues that we’re dealing with here in the U.S.”
Form is an energy storage system company that would attempt to balance out the reliability of the grid as the transition is made to renewable energy sources.
Their claim, it would make renewable more accessible and more reliable.
As for the package, the state is buying the land from a frontier energy division.
Form Energy’s total investment will be $760 million on 55 acres of the old mill.
Weirton beat out 500 other locations for the plant, which Keeney says couldn’t be the more perfect spot.
“We have a deep, deep culture of dealing with iron and metals here, and that’s what made this a perfect home for them, so we’re very happy to help them,” Keeney said.
Weld, a Weirton native, agrees with Justice’s claims this will be a rebirth for the city.
“I just think this is going to beginning of what is going to be a great turnaround for things in our area,” he said.
Form energy says it will start construction in 2023. Officials say they will begin manufacturing those batteries in 2024 for commercialization.