In January, Lexington-based battery manufacturer Enerblu, Inc., suspended plans to build a rechargeable battery production facility in Pikeville, Ky. The company had intended to create 875 jobs, which Kentucky Senator Ray Jones and others hoped would provide needed economic opportunities in Eastern Kentucky.
Enerblu halted the plans after the loss of their primary investor, Japanese technology organization Softbank Group. Following the October murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabian consulate, the Softbank CEO did not attend a Saudi investment conference and the company lost investments from the country, according to reporting from Ohio Valley ReSource.
The proposed facility site was on reclaimed mine land and would have needed ground repair. At a Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce meeting in Pikeville, former Enerblu CEO Daniel Elliot stated that the ground repairs would cost $30 million, but that they hoped to overcome the difficulty and move forward with their plan.
John Thomas, Enerblu’s new CEO, expressed the company’s disappointment with the investor’s departure in a press release. “As we move forward as a company to develop a viable and impactful project, we encourage other companies to discover what we found within this region of Appalachia,” he stated. — By Jamie Tews