Five years ago, North Carolina’s Cabarrus County lost what was once the world’s largest cigarette factory, leaving a massive 2,500-job hole in the regional economy. But recently, Alevo, a Swiss Energy Service Provider, purchased the former Philip Morris complex and plans to invest $1 billion to produce an innovative new battery technology that could prove a game-changer for the utility industry.
“Alevo’s decision to locate here is the result of four years of hard work by a partnership of local business leaders, local, county and state economic development officials and the chamber,” said Patrick Coughlin, President of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This breakthrough battery technology will help our region continue to lead the country in the emerging clean energy economy,” Coughlin added.
Founded by Jostein Eikeland, a Norwegian entrepreneur who is credited with helping to develop cloud computing, Alevo plans to hire 500 people by the end of 2015 and reach employment level of 6,000 within three years.
The move adds to an impressive portfolio of major employers with clean energy priorities bringing their business to Cabarrus County. Recently, Amazon, which has a commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage in its global infrastructure footprint, also announced it will locate a new data center in Cabarrus.
Alevo, which purchased the 2,100-acre campus for $68 million without state or local incentives, is dedicated to solving what it describes as one of the world’s greatest energy challenges: the ability to store electricity and deliver it when and where it is needed.
Eikeland told local reporters that the company plans to begin production of energy reservoirs known as GridBanks that store and deliver electricity on demand across the grid. Alevo says its product will also help utilities implement more solar and wind generation by capturing power when it is generated and storing it for later use.