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South Carolina Lands Two Billion-Dollar Plants in EV Market

March 23, 2023
Scout Motors plans to build a $2-billion plant to build EV trucks and RVs in South Carolina.

Even though some construction economists expect the market to contract this year, news about new trophy jobs continue to make headlines.

Several plants in the electric vehicle and EV battery markets were announced over the past two weeks. Albemarle Corp., a lithium mining and processing company, announced plans to locate its $1.3-billion Mega-Flex facility in Chester County, SC. The facility will process diverse lithium feedstock, including lithium from recycled batteries.

According to the press release, Albemarle expects the facility to annually produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from multiple sources, with the potential to expand up to 100,000 metric tons. Production at the facility would support the manufacturing of an estimated 2.4 million electric vehicles annually.

South Carolina also will be home to another big plant in the EV space. EV Scout Motors, Tysons Corner, VA, recently announced that it would build a manufacturing plant near Columbia, SC, to produce next-generation EV trucks and SUVs. According to the company press release, the $2-billion investment has the potential to create 4,000 or more permanent jobs. At full capacity, more than 200,000 Scout vehicles may be produced annually at the facility.

The release said South Carolina already has more than 500-plus automotive-related companies and 75,000 automotive industry employees, and that the state is No. 1 in the U.S. for export sales of both completed passenger vehicles and tires. In Oct. 2022, Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order that prioritized building electric vehicle infrastructure, preparing the state workforce for advanced manufacturing jobs, and strategically organizing electric vehicle planning under a centralized state working group.

In the LNG market, Venture Global LNG closed $7.8 billion in project financing for the second phase of its LNG facility in Plaquemines, LA. Together, phase one and phase two represent approximately $21 billion of investment, which Venture Global said in the press release is the largest project financing ever done.

Plaquemines LNG has received all necessary permits, including FERC authorization and non-FTA export authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy. Plaquemines LNG phase two customers include ExxonMobil, Chevron, EnBW, New Fortress Energy, China Gas, PETRONAS and Excelerate Energy. Marketing is actively underway for the company’s third facility, CP2 LNG, and contracts have been signed by CP2 LNG with Exxon Mobil, Chevron, EnBW, INPEX, China Gas and New Fortress Energy.

In another area of the green market, Ørsted and Eversource submitted a joint proposal in response to Rhode Island’s offshore wind solicitation. Delivering clean, reliable renewable power for more than 500,000 Rhode Island homes, the proposed 884-megawatt Revolution Wind 2 would represent more than $2 billion in direct economic benefits to Rhode Island’s economy. The economic benefits would be related to not only the construction of the offshore wind farm but also the development of several onshore offices that would house engineering and training resources, port construction and the construction of several ships to transport supplies and crews to the offshore work site.

The press release said that together with Ørsted and Eversource’s Revolution Wind — the state’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm —Revolution Wind 2 would help advance the state’s 100% clean energy by 2033 climate goal. The carbon emissions achieved by Revolution Wind 2 would be the equivalent of taking more than 265,000 cars off New England roads. If selected, the press release said Revolution Wind 2 would deliver the following economic benefits to Rhode Island.

Ports. Significant investments in the state’s existing ports, including $35 million to realize Quonset Development Corporation’s vision for a Regional Offshore Wind Logistics and Operations Hub at Quonset Point.

Shipbuilding. Building on the state’s historic shipbuilding capabilities, Revolution Wind 2 will enable the construction of two new crew transfer vessels in Rhode Island to serve Ørsted’s U.S. portfolio, on top of the five already being built by Blount Boats and Senesco Marine as part of their Revolution Wind investments.

Ørsted Offshore Engineering Hub Center of Excellence. Ørsted will open a new U.S. Engineering Hub in Rhode Island, creating roughly 75 new local engineering jobs in a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as an Ørsted engineering center of excellence in the United States.

Ørsted and Eversource are currently developing the 704MW Revolution Wind project and are expected to start construction on the project later this year. Revolution Wind will deliver 400 megawatts of clean, affordable offshore wind power to nearly 200,000 Rhode Island homes. The project is expected to be operational

in 2025.