New Energy New York coalition joins elected officials for lithium battery industry update

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 5:40 PM EDT
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VESTAL (WBNG) -- Members of the coalition “New Energy New York” joined elected officials to share an update on the future of the lithium battery industry on Wednesday as they look to position the Southern Tier as a national leader in battery innovation.

“New Energy, New York, or NENY is a 16-member coalition looking to establish a domestic supply chain for lithium-based batteries in the area.

Most recently, they were chosen as one of the finalists from across the nation to receive up to $160 million from the National Science Foundation.

“If successful it will be an investment in the entire ecosystem of next-generation batteries from the lab to the market to recycling processes,” said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.

Stenger added that an in-person review from the National Science Foundation will take place in the next few weeks.

The area’s future as the nation’s hub for battery production has local officials like Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D, 123) and State Senator Lea Webb (D, 52) pushing for state funding in Albany.

Lupardo said the potential economic impact, and large numbers of jobs it would create are just a few of the reasons why.

“A clean energy economy is absolutely critical,” said Lupardo. “It’s important to all of us, but it also matters to this place we all love. It matters to this community because with workforce development and hopefully the housing that goes with this we are going to have something we can be very very proud of.”

At the center of the coalition is Stanley Whittingham, a Binghamton University Professor and former Nobel Prize Winner.

Whittingham said US Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D, NY) role in securing federal funding over the last several years has helped large-scale production to be able to start in the near future.

“I’m thankful for him and Governor Kathy Hochul and all the political help we have,” said Whittingham. “We can’t do everything just based on science. We’ve got to get policy behind us and make things happen, but I think we are ready to go now. We are modifying a building in Endicott so we can put our pilot facilities there.”

According to NENY, their work throughout the state of New York on lithium batteries has a projected economic impact of $2 billion.