CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- Gov. Jim Justice announced today that DST Innovations, a UK technology company headquartered in Wales, has chosen West Virginia as the home of its new American manufacturing base; agreeing on a contract with West Virginia-based company Blue Rock Manufacturing to establish a new facility for the development of its new energy cells.
The new facility will be the forefront of green technology, using existing organic material such as coal to create new clean energy storage solutions. The development is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs in the manufacturing and technology sectors. The manufacturing base will be located in Morgantown, with a Phase 2 expansion planned for the Southern Coalfields region of the state.
“This is a gigantic announcement for West Virginia and I could not be happier,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s wonderful to be able to announce a new international partnership for business in West Virginia. The development is a great example of the special relationship we have with the UK and, now, specifically, with Wales.
“West Virginia and Wales are both proud mining communities,” Gov. Justice continued. “They share their heritage and appreciation for the natural resources, and this special partnership will see us both at the forefront of new energy.”
When successfully completed, the production facility will use the latest material science techniques, combining them with cutting-edge manufacturing knowledge to turn West Virginia coal and other organic materials into clean, sustainable energy storage products. The facility aims to produce large scale, printed energy storage systems and clean, high-grade electronic inks and coatings for use in battery and capacitor products worldwide.
“We want, in West Virginia, to chase every opportunity we have to bring goodness and jobs to West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “This is another great example of how all the work that we’re doing within the state of West Virginia makes these things become a reality, but these things only become a reality with the goodness of the people on the other side of the equation. These people from Wales probably looked at many places within the United States, but they have chosen West Virginia, and I could never be more thankful.”
The pioneering facility in West Virginia will be integral to a new, internationally-funded $1.4 billion natural energy project: Dragon Energy Island, located in Swansea, South Wales. Products created in West Virginia will enable the efficient storage of energy generated at the groundbreaking project, harnessing the power of nature.
A DST spokesperson said “We want to thank Governor Justice and his team for the warm welcome we have received. We are excited to create our American home in West Virginia, and truly believe, together, we can turn West Virginia coal into the clean resource of the future. The technology that will be used in Swansea for the Dragon Energy Island project can be utilized throughout the world, and we welcome the opportunity to aid governments achieve their sustainability and green ambitions.”
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council said “Swansea Bay offers an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the world’s first truly integrated tidal energy project. This project has the potential to spur a new industry not just for Swansea but for Wales and the UK. The impacts on employment and our local economy are set to be significant and perfectly timed as we address the post-COVID economy.”
“We remain 100 percent committed to seeing the project delivered in Swansea and are grateful for all of the efforts made by DST to bring together such a strong consortium of organizations with a proven track record of success,” Stewart added.
“We’re delighted to be making this announcement today with the Governor, who has been a great support and aide in making this project become a reality,” said Mary Anne Ketelsen of Blue Rock Manufacturing. “We will be so pleased to add so many jobs. We need them, and I can’t think of a better place to bring jobs than West Virginia.”