Kentucky Power Again Plays Role in Bringing Jobs to the Region

A few years ago our CEO challenged our team to see what we might do to help part of the territory we serve in Appalachia that has been so impacted by the change in our energy industry. Take a few minutes and read the article our Corporate Communications team wrote about the success in Eastern KY, both with this latest announcement (that will locate on a site certified through our AEP Quality Site program) and for the entirety of 2017.  I am extremely proud of our team’s role in this!

Kentucky Power Again Plays Role in Bringing Jobs to the Region

Written by: Allison D Barker

Kentucky Power President and COO Matt Satterwhite, right, addressing the audience at the EnerBlu announcement. Photo submitted by Dusty Layne.

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Power joined state and local leaders on Dec. 15 as EnerBlu announced its plans to invest $412 million in central and eastern Kentucky.

EnerBlu, an energy innovation company, plans to employ 875 with an average annual salary of $81,000 at a manufacturing facility to be built at the Kentucky Enterprise Industrial Park in Pikeville. Another 110 will work at the company’s new Lexington headquarters. The manufacturing facility will make lithium-titanate oxide (LTO) batteries, called EnerBlu Advanced Energy Storage Units. The batteries will power transit buses, commercial trucks, military vehicles and other equipment. The project, to be completed in 2020, is the result of a partnership that included Kentucky Power, Gov. Matt Bevin, Congressman Hal Rogers, One East Kentucky, the City of Pikeville, and other state and local leaders.

“Building a new energy company that can benefit both the local and global community is not only exciting, but very meaningful to us,” said EnerBlu Executive Chairman Michael Weber. “Kentucky Power has been at the forefront of the revitalization of eastern Kentucky by helping to attract companies that can put coal miners back to work through retraining and durable jobs. We look forward to working with them as we build our facility in Pikeville.”

EnerBlu is the sixth manufacturer to announce in 2017 that it is building facilities in eastern Kentucky with support and help from Kentucky Power. Kentucky Power visited EnerBlu’s facilities in Riverside, California, earlier this year to explore partnerships and help recruit the company to the region. Kentucky Power also provided $120,000 through a partnership of customers and stockholders to help fund geotechnical surveying and testing at the park and spearheaded efforts to develop the former mine site into an industrial park instead of a subdivision and golf course.

Kentucky Power also was instrumental in forging partnerships with and among several groups in bringing in business to the region. Projects announced in 2017 include:

  • Braidy Industries, aluminum rolling mill, 550 jobs (plus 1,000 construction jobs), Ashland;
  • Silver Liner, a tanker truck manufacturer, 300 jobs, Pikeville;
  • AppHarvest, an agricultural grow operation, 140 jobs, Pikeville;
  • Wright-Mix Materials, liquid chemicals, grouts, cement products, 130 jobs, Greenup County;
  • Thoroughbred Aviation, aircraft maintenance, avionics, painting, 15 jobs, Martin County.

“Economic development is not just important, it is vital to eastern Kentucky,” said Matt Satterwaite, president and chief operating officer of Kentucky Power. “Today’s announcement demonstrates why Kentucky Power is investing in economic development and promoting the resources we have in eastern Kentucky. Our partnership with EnerBlu and other employers who are bringing jobs to our communities is the result of working together to grow the entire region.”

In the last five years, Kentucky Power has invested nearly $4 million in economic development in eastern Kentucky, including water and sewer projects; broadband expansion; industrial site development and certification; workforce research; and other endeavors.

A partnership of Kentucky Power customers and shareholders funds many of the projects. Customers contribute 15 cents each month to the Kentucky Power Economic Growth Grant (K-PEGG) program. All customer contributions are then matched by stockholders to generate about $600,000 a year for the region.

“We appreciate the support that we have received from the entire state of Kentucky and the team at Kentucky Power,” said Daniel Elliott, EnerBlu president and CEO. “By working with local companies, including the utilities in Kentucky, EnerBlu will continue to develop its power products to meet the needs of commercial and military customers in Kentucky and around the world.”

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