Teaming with its battery
partner, SK Innovation of South Korea, Ford said that it will spend $5.6
billion in Stanton, Tennessee, where it will build a factory to produce
electric F-Series pickups.
A joint venture called
BlueOvalSK will construct a battery factory on the same site near Memphis, plus
twin battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky. Ford estimated the Kentucky
investment at $5.8 billion. The single largest manufacturing venture in the
iconic company’s history will create an estimated 10,800 jobs.
Choosing Tennessee and
Kentucky for the coveted mega-projects created an ironic disconnect between the
automaker's high-stakes bet on the future of battery-powered vehicles and the
rhetoric from many Republican leaders who have railed against a shift toward
green energy and away from fossil fuels.
In Kentucky, where Republican
state lawmakers recently joined Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in approving an incentives
package credited with helping lure the battery project to Glendale, hostility
toward green energy has focused on the decline of coal production and the
erosion of good-paying mining jobs in regions that depended on them. The
battery plants will be built in central Kentucky, a lengthy drive from the
coalfields of eastern and western Kentucky.
Beshear, who led the push
that landed the state's single largest economic development project ever with
the Glendale battery production project, said the private sector is leading the
conversion toward green jobs.
Ford picked the Kentucky and Tennessee sites in part because of
lower electricity costs, CEO Jim Farley said, as well as being less exposed to
flooding and hurricanes than other states.
In Glendale, a tiny community
ringed by corn and soybean fields about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of
Louisville, residents seemed ready to embrace the newfound ties to the green
energy movement and the fight against climate change.
Source: CLICK ON DETROIT