Grid link for GM-LG Chem's Ohio plant is 'power boost for the neighbourhood'

by Michael Green
Construction under way at the Ultium Cells site last year. Photo: Roger Mastroianni for GM
Work to connect General Motors’ and LG Chem's Ultium battery cells plant in Ohio to the grid will also boost power supply reliability to homes and businesses in the area, utility FirstEnergy has announced.

The utility is building a transmission substation in Trumbull County to provide electric service to the joint venture partners’ plant – which will span nearly three million square feet when complete and produce battery cells for GM’s new-generation electric vehicles range.

And FirstEnergy said the new transmission infrastructure will also "strengthen the regional transmission system and benefit more than 15,000 Ohio Edison customers in Lordstown and neighbouring communities”.

As part of the $19.6m (£14.3m)  project, utility crews have completed the foundation work and erected steel structures at the new substation in Lordstown. In addition, crews are completing construction of a half-mile power line to connect the new substation to an existing 138-kV line nearby.

'Keeping pace'

Such ties offer a back-up power feed that will help keep the lights on for customers if wires or equipment on their regular line are damaged or need to be taken out of service.

Regional president of Ohio Edison and Penn Power, Ed Shuttleworth, said: "With the EV industry bringing new employment and business development opportunities to the Mahoning Valley, FirstEnergy and Ohio Edison are keeping pace, by upgrading our system to meet the growing demand for safe and reliable power.”

GM and LG Chem say their joint venture will drive battery cell costs below $100/kWh. The cells use a proprietary chemistry featuring LG Chem’s NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminium) cathode, which requires 70% less cobalt than existing NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cells.

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