Design courtesy of Syensqo

Georgia’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Surge Is A By-Product Of Federal Investments

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New data released by Atlas Public Policy and the CHARGE coalition confirms that Georgia’s clean energy commitments toward personal transportation electrification now lead the nation. This shift to Georgia as a clean energy core region has been fueled in significant part by the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These laws are injecting at least $87 billion to encourage consumers to get into the EV market, drivers to have many more options for charging, and manufacturers to set up or grow their US operations.

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The IRA provides programmatic grants as well as incentives for domestic production of EVs and batteries through tax credits such as the Advanced Manufacturing Production Tax Credit and the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit. The law also supports EV adoption in other ways including by making public charging more available and helping consumers financially access EVs. About $16 billion and nearly 11,000 jobs were announced after the passage of the IRA in August 2022. Of the jobs announced, 97% will go to Congressional districts represented by Republicans and jobs will flow to 11 out of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts, based on announced facility locations.

Yet Georgia is poised to become a hub for EV manufacturing as it leads the nation in announced private investment ($24.8 billion) and permanent jobs (27,477).

Georgia’s clean energy manufacturing leadership is fascinating, considering that the state has a governor whose political party affiliation dismisses the importance of the transition to renewables. As the Georgia Reporter sums up nicely, since November 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law began to inspire further corporate investment in Georgia’s clean energy.

“These EV facilities aren’t just creating much-needed jobs and tax revenues for the state — they’re cementing Georgia’s place as a major technology hub in the growing clean energy economy. As the governor said during his visit to West Point’s Kia factory, after driving the first Georgia-built EV off the production line, ‘We are working to become the e-mobility capital of the nation.'”

Contradictory to Michigan’s longtime status as the dominant US automotive industry force, Georgia has made tremendous progress in transportation electrification manufacturing. Georgia’s status as a clean energy leader has been validated by some new reports that indicate that Georgia’s embrace of federal funding for EV investments has made the state soar ahead of its rivals. Nearly 24,000 EV and battery manufacturing jobs have been announced in Georgia since IIJA’s passage. Increasing demand for an EV automaking workforce has the potential to grow local economies as Georgia becomes a central node for US EV manufacturing.

One of the largest investors is SK Group with $4.6 billion and 4,800 jobs. Mobis North America received $57.7 million for their Richmond Hill, Georgia, power electric systems manufacturing facility, which supplies components for Hyundai and Kia EVs.

Kia Georgia’s assembly plant in West Point broke ground in June as team members gathered to celebrate the start of assembly of the all-electric 2025 EV9 three-row SUV, the first saleable electric vehicle assembled in the state of Georgia. Governor Brian Kemp visited the Kia plant in West Point to acknowledge the hundreds of new jobs accompanying the production of the EV9, an EV that won North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.

Hyundai Motors and LG Energy Solutions (LGES) are constructing a $7.6 billion “metaplant” in Ellabell, outside of Savannah. The facility is split between a Hyundai vehicle assembly plant and a joint venture battery manufacturing plant funded by Hyundai and LGES. Hyundai broke ground in October 2022 and construction on the massive site is underway with more than 2,000 construction workers on site. The plant is expected to begin production in early 2025 and produce 300,000 vehicles annually once at full capacity.

A Rivian plan for a $5 billion factory in Georgia that was shelved may be back in play after Volkswagen just announced a robust investment in the company.

And then there’s FREYR, the Norwegian battery company, which decided to build a $2.6 billion facility near Atlanta instead of Norway because of the IRA’s incentives. Out of 130 options across 25 states, the Atlanta metro area was selected due to its strong connections to air, sea, and rail ports and robust engineering workforce trained at schools like Georgia Tech.

Georgia’s Clean Energy Investments — Spurred by Federal $$

Additionally, the breakout of Georgia’s clean energy investments beyond the EV and battery sectors, according to Clean Economy Tracker, is quite impressive. Here are just the 2024 updates in Georgia’s clean energy manufacturing sector. (The Tracker includes a long list of previous year’s infrastructure commitments, too.)

Syensqo: Syensqo, formerly known as Solvay, broke ground in April on a plant expansion. The expansion will help provide materials for more than 5 million EV batteries per year. The factory is expected to manufacture electric battery-grade binders and separator coatings, which are crucial components for lithium-ion batteries that power EVs. The company will seek local talent by working with Augusta Tech to build a mobile training unit that will train workers in their home regions rather than have to come to the site.

Sunmax Tech: The facility, spanning 300,000 square feet, commenced Phase I operations in May 2024. In this phase, the company will invest $39 million to establish a manufacturing facility and procure equipment for solar photovoltaic junction boxes and solar cables, creating 82 new job positions. The subsequent phases will witness additional investments of $76 million and $78 million in Phase II and Phase III, respectively. These phases will focus on expanding production capabilities to include EVA film, cable line plastic material, aluminum solar frames, and copper wire, creating a total of 242 new job positions. Sunmax Tech commended Georgia’s rapid development, “coupled with increasing governmental support for the new energy industry,” as a good fit for its ambitions, the solar photovoltaic and new energy automotive sectors, in particular.

SolarCycle: The advanced technology-based solar recycling company will create more than 600 new full-time jobs in Polk County, investing an estimated $344 million in a solar glass manufacturing facility in Cedartown. The facility will be the first-of-its-kind in the country to use recycled materials from retired solar panels to make new solar glass — specialized glass for crystalline-silicon (c-Si) photovoltaics — with the capacity to make 5 to 6 gigawatts worth of solar glass every year. The glass will be sold directly back to the domestic solar manufacturers and fill a critical gap in the country’s supply chain to build more solar panels in America. The plant is scheduled to be operational in 2026.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack:

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