“At the end of the day, we selected Arizona,” KORE Power CEO Lindsay Gorrill said.
The facility will be built in Buckeye, near MC 85 and Interstate 10. Idaho-based KORE Power expects to employ about 3,000 people at the facility, which the company dubbed “KOREPlex.”
The plant, which is expected to be about 1 million square feet, will provide easy access to the freeways and will be close to an APS substation. The facility will also store its own energy.
KORE is the only battery cell developer in the world that is wholly owned by a U.S. company.
KORE’s battery cells can be used in electric vehicles, including trucks, boats and drones, or can be used for energy storage, like for solar and wind power that needs to be stored until future use.
The company already has a plant in China, which produces two gigawatt hours a year. The Buckeye plant is expected to produce 12 gigawatt hours annually, which Gorrill said could power over three million homes.
The first phase of the Buckeye plant is expected to cost $500 million. The site has room to expand after the first phase, but Gorrill said expansions will be dictated by market need.
Race to bring lithium-ion to U.S.
The U.S. wants to compete for lithium-ion battery production, emphasizing the importance of domestic production by saying it affects everything from consumer electronics to national defense.
Last month, the Department of Energy announced new policies to grow domestic manufacturing by requiring projects related to advanced batteries to “substantially manufacture” the products in the U.S.
The U.S. is behind China, Japan, South Korea and Germany in lithium-ion battery cell production. Losing out on this production could jeopardize the country’s clean energy economy, and also cause American workers to lose out on a job boom.
Because of this, KORE’s new facility means a lot to Arizona and the U.S.
“Arizona is thrilled to be selected as the home of the country’s first U.S.-owned lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. “Not only will this facility create thousands of new jobs, it will position Arizona as an anchor in the global battery manufacturing supply chain.”
Gorrill said the majority of the jobs at the plant will be manufacturing, with other jobs in engineering and warehousing and distribution positions.
Construction is planned to begin by the end of the year, and the goal is to begin production in the second quarter of 2023.