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Energy secretary proposes $2 billion loan for Nevada lithium battery maker

SPARKS — Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Thursday announced a proposed $2 billion loan for a Nevada company that produces parts for lithium batteries.

Granholm shared the news of the Energy Department’s conditional loan alongside Gov. Joe Lombardo at Redwood Materials’ McCarran Campus, about 30 minutes east of Reno.

Granholm said the Redwood project, which aims to boost electric vehicle battery production by providing critical components, would be a “slam dunk.”

“It’s going to be a slam dunk for our domestic, burgeoning electric vehicle industry providing these battery components for more than a million electric vehicles every year,” she said. “Redwood Materials is going to play this outsized role in bringing the batteries supply chain home because you’re focused on the pieces that we don’t have in the United States.”

Lombardo applauded the news.

“This exciting investment gets to happen in Nevada. Why? Because Nevada is open for business,” the governor said. “You heard that on the campaign trail. Now that’s coming to fruition. It is not false promises. We are open for business and I am welcoming with open arms, everybody and anybody that wants to be part of Nevada’s vision. We are doing things in the Nevada way.”

Once operational, the project will create 3,400 construction jobs and 1,600 jobs for full-time staff, said Granholm.

Asked about whether the project could tax water supplies in the area, Redwood Materials founder and CEO J.B. Straubel said the company takes water preservation “very seriously.”

“We’ve engineered water reclamation and every one of our processes,” he said. “We take that very seriously. We do see enough water resources, in the limited amount we do need.”

Lombardo said how much water a company consumes is “always a consideration” when it comes to which companies are looking to set up business in the state.

“When we solicited Redwood, and Redwood solicited us, that was a consideration,” Lombardo said. “That’s what’s going to be the consideration for all the companies occupy this space up here, especially in the state of Nevada.”

Lombardo said there are discussions about additional tax incentives for Redwood currently in the works, but didn’t provide further details.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

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