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By JEFF D'ALESSIO
FRANKFORT " Glendale, which has missed out on landing a couple of potential auto plants in the last 10 years, has been chosen as the site for a proposed domestic battery manufacturing and headquarters facility.
The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Batteries (NAATBatt) has chosen Glendale as the home for a potential investment in excess of $600 million to develop the first-of-its-kind manufacturing facility for lithium-ion battery cells. Glendale was selected over Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said he was "ecstatic" over the announcement. Berry attended the press conference Monday as Gov. Steve Beshear made the announcement.
NAATBatt is a not-for-profit industry consortium of more than 50 corporations, associations and research institutions dedicated to making the United States a world leader in the manufacture of advanced lithium-ion or Li-Ion battery cells for transportation applications.
The 1,551-acre Glendale site is adjacent to Interstate 65 and the CSX rail line and will be submitted as part of NAATBatt’s application to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Under the federal stimulus plan, the Obama administration has set aside $2 billion for electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturing projects. President Obama has specifically noted the importance of developing lithium-ion batteries to ensure that the United States plays a central role in producing the next generation of clean technology automobiles.
If successful in securing federal funding, NAATBatt would establish a manufacturing campus in Glendale, which would consist of a headquarters facility, a manufacturing facility used to refine products and production processes and a larger operation designed for mass battery manufacturing. Total square footage of the campus is expected to reach 1 million square feet.
This one-of-a-kind manufacturing operation could create as many as 2,000 new full-time jobs with an average annual wage exceeding $40,000, and represent a capital investment in excess of $600 million in Kentucky. An estimated additional 1,500 construction-related jobs would also be created for a period of 12 to 18 months.
"Hardin County is extremely excited to have NAATBatt choose to locate their facility in our community,” said Greg Jenkins, chairman of the Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation in a press release. “To be involved in this cutting-edge, renewable energy project is a great opportunity for us and the jobs created for our citizens are most welcome during these challenging economic times.”
NAATBatt plans to develop a large scale “flexible manufacturing” facility that will contract to manufacture Li-Ion battery cells of various chemistries, formats and designs for multiple battery companies.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced the formation of a new national Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center in central Kentucky to help develop and deploy a domestic supply of advanced battery technologies for vehicle applications.
The national center is a partnership with the Commonwealth, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
NAATBatt must submit its application to the DOE by May 19 and anticipates a decision on awards to be made this summer. If successful in securing the required funding, the Kentucky facility could begin construction immediately.
Jeff D'Alessio can be reached at (270) 505-1757.