There's a new project that's been floating around Buckeye, Arizona for a while that not too many people know about. It's called KORE Power and is set to become the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in the USA.
But the bigger question has everything to do with sustainability and the ecological effects of lithium-ion batteries that would impact Arizona and the residents within the surrounding areas around Buckeye.
Buckeye and its electricity source
Perhaps you've seen that episode of Family Guy where Peter makes a reference to the movie Jaws and utters the famous line We're Gonna Need Bigger Jaws'.
Well, that's just as important when you have a serious need for lithium-ion batteries that will help power a whole new wave of electric cars and trucks that are being manufactured in Buckeye. And that's where one name should emerge to give you an idea of how big this idea is moving mountains.
That's right- if you know the name Jay Bellows, then you already know how bright the future is going to be. It seems that Jay Bellows the CEO of KOR Power, which is currently located in Buckeye has big (no wait) huge plans for creating wealth and thousands of jobs for residents in Arizona and living around Buckeye. But as 'Bellows' has mentioned in a recent September 2022 interview- building a battery factory is no easy task'.
That statement could not be more apparent than Jay's commitment to other states that have similar electric battery storage projects. Take the case and point of the Waterbury Northern-Reliability project. Jay, a local who lives in Waterbury, Vermont with his family, has only been part of the CORE Power entity since late 2013. He further explains the booming expansion in energy storage in a workspace that previously was home to Keurig Green Mountain coffee roasters.
The new project which started in 2022 entitled the Northern-Reliability project is largely a testing facility. You see, the batteries that are used to charge electric fleets including cars and trucks are roughly the size of a small tractor. Most people often think that electrical charging sites are required but actually, these giant batteries are charging several smaller batteries. The plan to charge these batteries is even more progressive because they can be charged for free.
Yes, that's right, according to Bellows, they are using excess electricity that is supplied by the state of Idaho that comes from excess electricity that's not used by their grid. Additional electricity is also coming from wind-powered windmills (when the wind is blowing too), and solar farms when the sun is shining. You get the point here. They have a whopping army of employees that total around 31 at the time of the interview in March 2022.
The end goal is to have battery storage facilities large enough to take over a grid across the entire USA which will replace over 290 million gas-powered combustion vehicles. In addition, his new facility in Arizona which would have the capacity to power 3.2 million homes each year with the power they can store also would be a major pipeline for energy storage facilities in the United States.
They also have ambitious hope to be a major supplier of stored electricity for Electric Airplanes that relate to new project companies like Resonant Link and Beta Technologies. And you thought Idaho was best-known for potatoes and precious stones. Looks like Idaho is now at the forefront of Silicon Valley-level technology.
KORE Power capacity and employment opportunities in buckeye
It sounds more like the scene where that poor Russian guy looks into the open core of Chernobyl and sees the eye of Sauron staring back.
The stats are simply amazing since KORE Power intends to hire over 3,400 employees with a support staff of over 10,000 indirect jobs that will be created as a result. KORE Power also intends to build and ship brand new storage batteries that will deploy more than 10 million battery cell units to a global customer base!
If this sounds utterly amazing already, there are some hesitations to actively being able to hire over 3000 advanced technology positions that know how to work with Lithium-ion batteries.
Below is a handy video that shows the potential of smart lithium-ion batteries and how they are built.
Now, this video is a nice reminder of how safe lithium-ion phosphate batteries are to use and why a 1 million square foot factory can easily become a fire hazard in a very short amount of time.
We can't say for sure what kind of batteries KORE is going to be manufacturing, however, the batteries that KORE currently has produced for them are all coming directly from a factory located in China. KORE Power intends to increase production at their Chinese factory by 2024 to export more Gigawatt-scale-sized batteries.
It seems that there are no actual factories to be seen so far aside from pretty CG renderings. We'll give you some drone video footage as soon as that's available...
Nikola and Lucid factory
Whether or not you believe in miracles, other projected projects that also seem to be too good to be true that come out of Buckeye are always entertaining, to say the least. It's never too late to mention how the previously-named Trillium at Douglas Ranch has now magically morphed into Teravalis in Buckeye. Not to forget the highly doubtful I-11 Freeway expansion project or the suffering saga of no expansion within the Tartesso Community.
Perhaps bigger wishes for seeing the Nikola Electric Truck Factory or Lucid Car Electric Car factory will become a stabile business boom too? As usual, until they have solved any kind of water shortage problem, new communities within Buckeye will not see any business growth until global changes will increase the water flow down the Colorado river. Indeed, the Colorado River levels do peak and decline every 10 years.
According to annual flow charts for the Colorado River, 2023 should start seeing an increase in water flow when snowpacks start to melt in the late spring and summer into Lake Mead. But for now, Buckeye has been fairly proactive in taking matters into their own hands to deal with the lack of water supply in the desert.
We gave a little dig and found that both the Nikola and Lucid factory locations are very suspicious of any kind of production or construction.
(electric truck update video September 2022)
You can decide for yourself if this is what Buckeye can expect from Jay Bellows. We're hopeful of any project that comes to Buckeye will increase the local employment and economy for much of Maricopa County but for a more promising prospect check out the latest game changing plant making its way to the Valley of the Sun. And as a local small business, we look forward to growth of the surrounding community to provide our Buckeye junk removal services to. Let's just say, we're recycling some interesting news that gives you a better perspective on our neck of the woods. As for our friend Jay, we hope it doesn't come back to bite him back all the way to Waterbury, Vermont - in the end.
April 7 update: KORE Power has now closed on a 214-acre site in Maricopa County, Arizona, that will host a battery cell gigafactory for both electric vehicle and energy storage system markets.
The expected date for the factory to become operational has been delayed from the second quarter of 2023 to 2024, but that’s because KORE is going to double the size of the 12 GWh annual production manufacturing facility from 1 million square feet to 2 million square feet.
CEO Lindsay Gorrill told Energy-Storage news:
What’s critical is that all of the market, all the big guys, are focused on EVs, which is huge [as an opportunity], but if you don’t build enough of the stuff that supports the grid, the EV side will never work because they can’t produce a million EVs and not change the grid. We made a conscious effort to be in both markets [EV and energy storage system].
As KORE is also going to ramp up production at its existing factory in China from 2GWh to 6GWh, it will have 18 GWh of total production capacity by the end of 2024.
Besides Tesla, KORE Power is a rare example of a US battery maker ready to build gigawatt-scale manufacturing.
July 30, 2021: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based battery cell technology developer KORE Power announced yesterday that it will build the first lithium-ion battery factory wholly owned by a US company, in Maricopa County, Arizona. It will create a vital new US battery supply for electric vehicles and battery storage.
The 1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility will be called the KOREPlex (rendering above). It will support up to 12 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery cell production.
KOREPlex will add to the company’s current annual production capacity of 2 GWh that’s in the process of scaling up to 6 GWh.
KORE Power plans to start construction of KOREPlex by the end of 2021 and intends to start production in the second quarter of 2023.
The new Arizona factory will create more than 3,000 full-time jobs and around 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. The company said it chose Maricopa County because it “offered proximity to complementary industries such as e-mobility, solar, semiconductor, and utilities, workforce and logistics capacity, and a pro-business tax and regulatory environment.”
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) said:
I join all Arizonans in welcoming to our state KORE Power and its new manufacturing site that will create thousands of new jobs. Arizona is positioned to lead the nation on increasing America’s competitiveness in battery technology, and I will continue supporting this vital industry.
The KORE Power Project is a manufacturing facility located in Buckeye that is aiming to be the largest manufacturing company to produce Lithium-ion battery storage units. These units will supply a growing demand for electricity and power that will serve the clean energy industry throughout the US.
Since early reports of planning to build their new facility back in April of 2021, the KORE Power manufacturing facility has announced opening sometime in 2024.
As there are currently less than 100 actual employees working for KORE Power at the moment, the expected number of experts to be hired will include more than 500 new hires and upwards of 3,400 long-term workers in their manufacturing facility when it’s up and running.
The estimated financial impact of KORE Power will bring prosperity and a better standard of living for residents of Buckeye and Arizona in general. Estimates have projected hundreds of millions of dollars that will directly bring in new support businesses, opportunities, and property development that will grow from the financial impacts.
Many reports of construction that has begun at the KORE Power complex are expected to begin in June 2023 with a completion date that has been proposed for mid-2025.
Among the partners that are included in the development of KORE Power are the City of Buckeye, Arizona Public Service (ASP), Southern California Edison (SCE), the Salt River Project (SRP), and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), with many more regional utility companies providing support.