Fortescue continues US expansion with new clean energy manufacturing plant

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Fortescue has announced it will invest almost $54 million (USD 35 million) to kickstart a major manufacturing facility in the United States (US) that is expected to serve as a hub for the production of automotive and heavy industry batteries, hydrogen generators, electric vehicle fast chargers and electrolysers.

Fortescue said the manufacturing facility is being developed in the state of Michigan as part of the company’s plan to rapidly expand its US presence as a direct result of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The IRA, which is aimed at ramping up onshore production of renewable energy, electrification and the development of clean energy industries such as green hydrogen, offers subsidies, grants and tax breaks to businesses to establish clean energy projects in the US.

Fortescue’s new manufacturing centre is expected to benefit directly from IRA tax credits for battery modules, offering approximately $15 (USD 10) per kWh.

Fortescue Executive Chairman and founder Andrew Forrest said the IRA has changed the US from a laggard to a world leader in clean energy, demonstrating that countries which incentivise green energy place an “economic engine” firmly inside their economies.

“The IRA makes the United States the most attractive place in the world for green energy and green manufacturing projects,” he said.

“Fortescue is putting the United States at the forefront of our global strategy, with the incentives on offer, a win for both the US and the wider Asia-Pacific region.”

The company said the Michigan facility, projected to employ up to 600 people in its initial phase, will serve as a major hub for Fortescue’s production of batteries, fast chargers, and hydrogen generators and electrolysers.

“Michigan and the United States are extremely attractive places to manufacture, given the skilled workforce, existing supply chain and incentives from state and federal governments, including the Inflation Reduction Act,” Fortescue Energy Chief Executive Officer Mark Hutchinson said.

The new manufacturing facility is one of three clean energy projects Fortescue has planned in the US.

Fortescue is targeting a final investment decision this year for the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub, an electrolyser and liquefaction facility in Arizona. Stage one of the project is planned to include an 80 MW electrolyser and liquefaction facility capable of producing up to 12,000 tonnes of liquified green hydrogen annually.

Fortescue is also planning to construct a large-scale green hydrogen production plant near in the state of Washington. The Centralia project has been selected as part of the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub to receive funding from the US Department of Energy. The project is currently in the design stage with a final investment decision yet to be taken by the Fortescue board.

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