‘Bourbon to Batteries’: AESC battery plant hits construction milestone

Published 4:05 pm Thursday, September 14, 2023

By Michael J. Collins, Bowling Green Daily News

Bowling Green is one step closer to 2,000 new battery-producing jobs.

Envision AESC on Thursday celebrated the structural completion of its $2 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Warren County’s Kentucky Transpark.

Gov. Andy Beshear joined AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto, Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, and other community leaders to mark the milestone.

“AESC was ahead of the curve in seeing what so many companies across the globe now realize: that Kentucky is the best place to do business – with the best workforce, the best crews to build the biggest facilities the world has ever seen,” Beshear said.

Construction crews lowered the final beam onto the facility’s steel skeleton as guests looked on. Matsumoto said it was a momentous day for the future of both AESC and Kentucky.

“Kentucky has a rich history, and together we are taking that history to new innovations,” Matsumoto said. “From bourbon to batteries; from bluegrass to green energy.”

Leaders, from Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott to Judge-Executive Doug Gorman to Rep. Shawn McPherson, R-Scottsville, echoed similar sentiments: the factory offers immense opportunities for the region.

Gorman said those opportunities will inspire “generational change” for countless local families as local business continues to snowball.

Matsumoto said the facility is one of several that his Japanese company has opened in recent years. The company also has factories in South Carolina, Tennessee, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

McPherson said the new facility will build on the innovation of other plants, adding the Tennessee facility was a veritable “lab” for what will be done here.

The company was approved for $116.8 million in state tax incentives in December 2022 to build the 1.6 million-square-foot plant. AESC aims to produce up to 300,000 vehicle batteries annually by 2027.

While it currently employs around 50 people locally, Beshear said AESC will continue recruiting.

The facility broke ground roughly a year ago on the 512-acre site in the Transpark. The plant’s lithium-ion battery production should begin by the end of 2025 and be fully operational by 2027.

Matsumoto said Beshear and regional leaders have been highly supportive of the venture. He said southcentral Kentucky was chosen because the region met the need for electrical infrastructure and an available workforce.

“We believe that this gigafactory will support the local economy, offering versatile, sustainable job opportunities in a rapidly expanding sector for years to come,” Matsumoto said.