Quick Takes

Microvast confirms it won’t develop battery technology plant in Hopkinsville

MIcrovast would have been adjacent to Ascend Elements, which is currently under construction in Commerce Park in Hopkinsville. (Hoptown Chronicle photo by Jennifer P. Brown)

Microvast Holdings Inc. has announced it won’t proceed with plans for a battery technology plant in Hopkinsville — a project that would have brought a $504 million investment and more than 500 jobs to Commerce Park II.

A press release issued Friday from the Texas-based company says the project is off “at least for now.”

The announcement follows reports in early June that put the project in doubt after the U.S. Department of Energy halted a $200 million grant to Microvast and Kentucky economic development officials paused $21 million in state incentives.

The federal package unraveled when Republican lawmakers criticized Microvast and its CEO, Yang Wu, for alleged ties to China. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s office confirmed negotiations with Microvast were canceled, according to an Associated Press report.

The company’s press release did not address the concerns federal officials raised about Wu’s tie to China. Previously, Wu, said he is a U.S. citizen and denied charges of improper connections with China.

Microvast is continuing construction of a plant in Clarksville, Tennessee.

“Microvast is finding significant demand for its lithium-ion battery solutions,” Wu said in the release. “We are concentrating on our core business efforts, including completing our first large-scale battery cell, module, and pack production plant in Clarksville, Tennessee. This project will ensure that our products are manufactured in America.”

The announcement confirms what was already largely understood about the Hopkinsville project. Carter Hendricks, executive director of the South West Kentucky Economic Development Council, previously told Hoptown Chronicle that local officials were still open to working with Microvast but said the EDC was again marketing the 100-acre site that Microvast had planned to develop in Commerce Park II.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s office announced in late March that Microvast had chosen Hopkinsville for construction of a 350,000-square-foot facility and would employ 562 workers. The governor’s office typically does not follow up to announce when large economic development projects fall through. However, in this case a spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development did confirm the state would not pay out incentives until the company addressed why the Department of Energy halted the federal grant.

This article is republished from the Hoptown Chronicle.

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Jennifer P. Brown, Hoptown Chronicle

Jennifer P. Brown is the publisher, editor and co-founder of Hoptown Chronicle. She has been writing about Hopkinsville for 35 years — first as a reporter and editor for the Kentucky New Era for three decades and more recently as an independent journalist. Brown co-chairs the national advisory board to the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky and is governing board president for the Kentucky Historical Society. She is a co-founder of the Kentucky Open Government Coalition. She serves on the Community Advisory Board of WKMS, the public radio station at Murray State University. Brown earned the Bachelor of Science in Journalism at Murray and the MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College, Baltimore.