Michigan-based Our Next Energy (ONE) is going to open a long-duration battery storage factory in West Virginia, next to a 420 MWh solar microgrid.
West Virginia’s new battery storage factory
ONE will manufacture the Aries Grid, a utility-scale lithium iron phosphate battery system that debuted at the end of February, in Millwood, West Virginia, on a site called Ravenswood.
ONE says its Aries Grid long-duration energy storage system’s USP is as follows:
The lithium-ion energy storage system uses an LFP cathode chemistry that is more durable and has double the lifetime energy throughput of the nickel, cobalt, and manganese (NCM) chemistries [that] make up most commercially available stationary energy storage systems in the US.
Aries Grid will use ONE’s Aries transportation 79-kWh battery pack, and it will be available in 2-, 3-, and 6-MWh modular units so systems can be customized. It has discharge times ranging from four to 12 hours, and it can form a microgrid that can provide unlimited 24/7 firm baseload capacity for anything from communities to EV chargers:
ONE is buying and upgrading a 40,000-square-foot shuttered aluminum plant on the Ravenswood site. The company expects its factory to come online in 2025, and it will start hiring next year. It’s expected to create around 100 jobs.
Solar and storage microgrid
ONE’s new factory will sit right next to Des Moines-headquartered renewable developer Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) Renewables. BHE selected ONE as its partner for utility-scale battery storage at its first-of-its-kind solar energy microgrid-powered industrial site.
Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC), a Berkshire Hathaway business, will be the first company on-site at Ravenswood. It will operate under the PCC subsidiary Titanium Metals Corporation and will develop a titanium melt facility that will use 100% renewable energy to make titanium products for aerospace and other industries. It’s also going to create around 200 jobs.
Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO and founder of ONE, said:
The BHE Renewables microgrid project, estimated at 420 MWh, in Jackson County represents a historic transition to renewable energy-based manufacturing in the US and establishes a standard for others to follow.
Building upon BHE Renewables’ commitment to this site and the State of West Virginia, ONE’s first Aries Grid factory will bring even more jobs and investment to this area to help clear a path to a carbon-free manufacturing future.
West Virginia is coal country – as of 2021, West Virginia was the second-largest coal producer in the US and accounted for 14% of US total coal production.
And as coal jobs that have been in place for centuries continue to disappear, they need to be replaced with good-paying jobs in renewables. More than 11,000 people work in coal in West Virginia, so 300 jobs is a drop in the bucket, but it’s a big symbolic deal.
This latest battery storage investment in West Virginia directly results from the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. It’s also going to help US battery supply chains and boost domestic manufacturing.
The Solar Energy Industries Association ranks West Virginia 48th in the US for the amount of solar installed – and it gets 0% of its electricity from solar. In 2021, coal-fired electric power plants accounted for 91% of West Virginia’s total electricity net generation. The state needs a lot more renewable projects like the one at Ravenswood.
Photos: Our Next Energy
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