ONE envisions new Ravenswood plant to be the model for others to follow

RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. — A Michigan company envisions a new plant in West Virginia as the future model for how its products are built. ONE, Our Next Energy, announced in recent days they would locate a factory to produce their industrial power storage batteries in Ravenswood, West Virginia. The facility would be built in conjunction with the Berkshire-Hathaway alternative power plant within the industrial park in Jackson County.

“They needed a battery technology that could absorb energy during the daytime and then give it back to the factory at night time to keep it running. We evaluated our technology for that application and it seemed like a perfect fit,” said Founder and CEO Mujeeb Ijaz in an appearance on MetroNews Talkline Wednesday.

Ijaz said when they looked at the BHE Renewables venture, it made sense to make the batteries the facility would need right on the same site. He added the Inflation Reduction Act included incentives which made it even more economical and helped them easily make up their minds to locate in West Virginia. But he added West Virginia’s development office also played a large role.

“The leadership in West Virginia is quite literally at the forefront of this energy transition and thinking about the next stage of energy in this country,” he explained.

Ijaz gave a lot of credit to Governor Jim Justice and his policies along with the accommodating attitude of State Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael and his team. He furthermore credited U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin for their level approach to the transition to green energy in a state which has been at the heart of energy production for more than a century.

“Thinking about energy, thinking about jobs, and thinking about this transition as a way to embrace the future, but still respect the current energies that are there and figuring out how they work together,” he said.

ONE is a next level battery company which has moved into a new phase of technology. Most large scale batteries until now were made largely of cobalt and nickel. Ijaz believed they could build a better battery with materials a lot more easily accessible.

“We selected iron as the base material. We can mine that material, manufacture the batteries and develop all of this technology with U.S. workers. That’s what separates us from a lot of other companies. We’re here to build America’s battery company, ” he proclaimed.

Sources for nickel and cobalt have become unreliable in the modern world. More than 40 percent of the world’s nickel production was lost in the Ukraine/Russian war. Ijaz added cobalt is mined almost exclusively in the Democratic Republic of Congo which is often an unstable place and difficult to reach.

“I think West Virginia can be the model and this first site at Ravenswood is the model for many other sites that will be needed in the future,” said Ijaz.

BHE Renewables and it’s partner company Precision Cast Pars broke ground on the site last week.  Berkshire Hathaway has promised 200 jobs within the next three years, but ONE has announced their facility will create about 105 jobs once fully operational.

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