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Battery Boom: Energy-Storage Companies Make Hefty Investments in South Carolina

Energy storage facility construction

Battery Boom: Energy-Storage Companies Make Hefty Investments in South Carolina

In the last two years, South Carolina has witnessed the announcement of nearly $8 billion in capital investments by energy-storage companies, indicating an impressive level of trust in the Palmetto State’s potential. The scale and diversity of these projects point to South Carolina as a leading state in acquiring more elements of the energy-storage value chain, as suggested by David Clayton, Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Securing the Supply Chain

While discussions about energy storage predominantly focus on the electric vehicle market, industrial usages are another critical area that’s expected to significantly increase in demand, according to Clayton. All battery production processes necessitate specific raw materials, particularly critical elements like lithium and cobalt. This need explains why energy-storage companies are investing robustly in U.S. manufacturing facilities.

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The global reserves of lithium, which can be efficiently mined, are concentrated in a few nations like Chile, Australia, and China. About 30% of the lithium-ion battery production in 2023 came from a single Chinese company, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. Hence, the emphasis on battery recycling and lithium-recovery operations is discernible in energy-storage companies’ investment plans in South Carolina. Significant instances are Redwood Materials’ proposed $3.5 billion facility in Berkeley County, Cirba Solutions’ planned $300 million recycling plant in Richland County, and Albemarle Corp.’s intended $1.3 billion lithium recovery facility in Chester County.

Manufacturing Batteries

One of the recent substantial developments in the Upstate region has been BMW Manufacturing’s $1.7 billion investment aimed to enable its Spartanburg County plant to produce six fully electric models by 2030. Moreover, the automaker is investing $700 million to construct a battery-assembly plant in Woodruff. The necessary battery cells for this plant will be provided by AESC’s factory currently under construction in Florence County. This facility represents a significant part of AESC’s $1.6 billion investment in the state’s energy-storage sector.

For industrial use specifically, EnerSys revealed in February its plan to pour in $500 million in Greenville County to manufacture lithium-ion batteries. Given the high power requirement of battery manufacturing plants, increasing the power production capacity is a priority for electric utilities such as Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, especially as more people and businesses relocate to the state.

On a related note, power supply can also come from the energy-storage sector, one of the largest energy consumers. Clayton posited that, thanks to the sunny climate of the Southeast, solar power can be leveraged to an increasing extent to meet this demand. Energy storage plays a crucial role in guaranteeing a more reliable supply.

South Carolina therefore offers enormous opportunities in the energy-storage market. As Clayton emphasized, “It’s a billion-dollar, if not trillion-dollar opportunity,” especially for the state which has more pieces of the battery value chain than any other.


Battery Boom: Energy-Storage Companies Make Hefty Investments in South Carolina

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

This Article is sponsored by:


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