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My View: Build Back Better Plan can help deliver the ‘Sustainable Valley’

Phoenix Business Journal

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is good for Arizona, but the Build Back Better Act is better.

The BBBA would multiply the number of good-paying jobs created in our state’s leading electric vehicle, solar, and other clean energy industries. 

In fact, more than 50% of Arizonans want to see the BBBA pass the Senate because it will create millions of new, good-paying jobs in fields such as manufacturing and transportation, which contribute a combined 40% to Arizona’s GDP. 

Arizona is well-positioned to lead in the energy transition — and in the energy storage space in particular. APS has made plans to install 850 megawatts of large batteries on the electric grid this decade, and Salt River Project already operates Arizona’s largest battery storage system in Peoria, which came online this year. Equipped with Tesla Megapacks, the site can power nearly 6,000 homes in the Greater Phoenix area through hot afternoon peaks with clean and affordable resilient power. 

Today, Arizona is only getting some of the potential benefits of the increasing energy storage deployments. To understand why, we must look at what makes a battery. At the core of the battery is the cell – and today, every cell used in large energy storage projects is manufactured overseas.

That will soon change. Arizona’s leadership in energy storage is drawing more jobs to the state. KORE Power is building a battery cell manufacturing plant in Maricopa County that will employ local Arizonans to manufacture the cells that power the batteries in energy storage projects and e-mobility systems.

Meanwhile, something remarkable is already happening in Arizona. Electric vehicle manufacturers including Lucid and ElectraMeccanica have set up shop in the state. KORE Power is in discussions with battery supply chain companies and recycling providers that are also looking to call Arizona home. Our vision is that the Valley of the Sun become the Sustainable Valley, where batteries are made, installed, and recycled, bringing the whole energy storage life cycle home to the USA — right here in Arizona.

The BBBA, which places a priority on domestic suppliers in the transportation, automotive, tech, and engineering industries can help deliver Arizona’s Sustainable Valley. Now is the time to act.

Arizona has solidified its position as a hub for electric vehicle and self-driving technologies, and the state has great potential to become a massive global leader in next-gen automotive manufacturing. Despite the global recession, Phoenix attracted more residents than any other U.S. city for a fourth year in a row, as highly skilled workers went searching in droves for more space at a lower cost. 

Sen. Sinema and Sen. Kelly can meet the moment by acting swiftly on behalf of Arizona communities to pass the BBBA, creating even more jobs in our state and laying the foundation for long-term prosperity. When surveyed, Arizonans most impacted by the clean energy transition including energy workers and miners overwhelmingly say they want to see BBBA approved in the Senate. 

The time is now. We look to our delegation to accelerate Arizona’s path to a clean, resilient, and robust economy that makes the lives of all Arizonians easier, healthier, and more affordable.

Lindsay Gorrill is the CEO of KORE Power.


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