On Friday, March 18, Energy Secretary, Jenner Granholm announced a program to develop lithium batteries in the United States as a part of a broader strategy to help Appalachia amid a transition away from coal. The lithium batteries are necessary components of electric vehicles and are used for storage on the U.S. electrical grid; however, the U.S. relies almost entirely on international markets for the processing of most raw materials. As a part of its plan, the Department has announced $5,000,000 in funding for pilot projects to be located in the 13-state Appalachia region. One such project, the development of a “gigafactory” in West Virginia by Sparkz, Inc. is set to begin construction in 2022 of a zero cobalt battery manufacturing plant that will initially employ 350 West Virginia workers. For more information, please contact Phillip Hoover or Steve O’Day.