Form Energy Could Provide Billions in Economic Impact

The Form Energy battery manufacturing facility proposed for Weirton could have an annual economic impact of more than $155 million, according to officials with West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
The report, compiled by Christiadi, Ph.D., and John Deskins, Ph.D., using data provided by the West Virginia Development Office, looks at the potential impact, through direct and secondary means, for West Virginia’s economy.
“The plant is expected to begin operations in 2024. The WVDO estimates that by the end of 2025 the plant will sell 37 MW (megawatt) of batteries. WVDO assumes the product will be priced at $3 million per megawatt, which gives an estimated sales value of $111 million,” states the report. “This total sale is a good approximation of the plant’s total operational spending, as such can be used to represent the total direct output of the plant’s operation that year. WVDO also estimates the plant is expected to employ 178 workers at that time.”
In its first year of operations, the study indicates a direct economic output potential of $111 million, with $44.6 million in secondary industries. With the initial 178 jobs, the study estimates another 248 workers supported in secondary industries, resulting in a potential employee compensation of $45.2 million.
By 2027, estimated at three years after opening, the study indicates the possibility of more than $1 billion in economic impact, including $750 million in direct output and $301.1 million for secondary industries. This accounts also for a possible employment at the time of 350 direct jobs and the potential of 1,678 supplier industry-based jobs.
Total employee compensation for those positions could reach $305.6 million, generating $28.6 million in state and local tax revenue.
Five years following startup, estimated to be in 2029, the study indicates the support of 750 direct jobs and 3,356 jobs through supplier industries and an annual economic impact of $2.1 billion through direct and secondary industries.
Employee compensation is anticipated to be an estimated $611.3 million.
An estimated $57.2 million in state and local taxes is estimated to be provided, according to the report.
Massachusetts-based Form Energy announced its plans to locate in Weirton in December, selected a 55-acre area once used by Weirton Steel Corp. out of 500 potential sites in 16 states.
The company, which has developed a new type of iron-air battery capable of storing electricity for 100 hours with a goal of shoring up the nation’s power grid, expects to create a minimum of 750 jobs.
The state Economic Development Authority already had approved an investment of $75 million as part of an incentive package for the project. On Friday, following two hours of debate, the West Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill which, in part, would provide an additional $105 million.