BG plant unaffected by halted incentives
Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Bowling Green’s Envision battery plant will not be impacted by canceled incentive funding to another Kentucky electric vehicle battery plant, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
Envision AESC is currently building a $2 billion, 2,000-employee EV battery plant in Warren County’s Kentucky Transpark.
This week, the Associated Press reported that Kentucky economic officials had withdrawn $21 million in economic incentives to Microvast, an electric vehicle battery company that was supposed to begin building a plant in Hopkinsville this year.
The officials did so after the U.S. Department of Energy withdrew its $200 million loan for the project. Republican Sen. John Barrasso and others had previously expressed concerns about Microvast’s connections to China.
A Microvast SEC filing showed that 69% of Microvast’s revenue was from China, while 3% was generated in the United States. Microvast also indicated that it might not be able to protect intellectual property rights in China.
In a committee meeting, Barrasso called on the Department of Energy to explain in more detail why it withdrew the grant. The Department of Energy said that it retains the right to cancel loan awards for any reason at any time until “negotiations are complete.”
Microvast CEO Yang Wu denied that the company had any inappropriate connection to China in a written statement.
“Microvast is based in Texas, its shares are traded on Nasdaq, and the operations for our global business are centralized in the U.S.,” Wu said.
Envision AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation) also has several battery plants in China. But it has not received the same scrutiny.
The $2 billion Bowling Green project was approved for $116.8 million in state tax incentives in December 2022.
“We have no information to believe the DOE announcement directly affects any other company than Microvast,” said Brandon Mattingly, spokesperson for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, in a statement.
Mattingly added that the Cabinet had requested additional information about the Department of Energy decision regarding Microvast, and that it would not take any further action until answers are provided.
“The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and this administration take very seriously the need to address issues that have been raised about the use of state tools for job growth by companies that may be unduly influenced by Chinese ownership,” he wrote.
– Follow regional reporter Sarah Michels on Twitter @sarah_michels13 or visit bgdailynews.com.