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Article Originally Published:

Dec. 28, 2022

What could be the key to a renaissance of the region’s manufacturing was announced Thursday when it was learned Form Energy intends to develop its first manufacturing facility in Weirton.

The Massachusetts-based company, with a goal of developing new energy storage technology through the manufacture of large, iron-air batteries, selected Weirton out of 500 candidate sites in 16 states. The plan, according to local officials, is to renovate the former Weirton Steel open hearth building, and then branch off with the construction of new buildings, beginning the production of its batteries sometime in 2024.

There will be, officials say, a minimum of 750 jobs created with this development, and that is welcome news.

It is the latest in a growing string of economic development announcements for the Weirton area in recent years.

Form Energy will be the first major development of the Frontier Crossings project on land that once was home to the steel-making facilities of Weirton Steel.

For generations, that land provided the lifeblood for the Northern Panhandle and surrounding areas, and, while the type of product and jobs will be vastly different, it will be good to see the area rejuvenated.

The process of attracting Form was a team effort, bringing many parts of the community together.

Goals for the Frontier Crossings project were created under the Weirton Area Reuse Plan, a document developed through the cooperation of the Frontier Group of Companies, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the city of Weirton, the Thrasher Group and the West Virginia Brownfield Assistance Center. A major component of the plan is the creation of a new industrial access road, which is being made possible with assistance from the state of West Virginia and the efforts of Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and outgoing U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-Wheeling.

In their efforts to attract Form Energy, BDC officials recruited representatives of local educational systems, medical care providers, government officials, child care providers, charitable organizations and those involved in promoting tourism opportunities and the history and culture of the region.

It shows what can be accomplished when people and organizations work together, and sets the stage for further development.

For now, we join those who are welcoming Form Energy to the Ohio Valley, and look forward to seeing you becoming a valued part of our community.