Windsor loses out on $2.5-billion plant from LG Chem due to lack of energy supply

·2 min read
A logo of LG Electronics Inc. is seen outside of the company's office building in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 12, 2021. (Ahn Young-joon/The Associated Press - image credit)
A logo of LG Electronics Inc. is seen outside of the company's office building in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 12, 2021. (Ahn Young-joon/The Associated Press - image credit)

Windsor is losing out on a $2.5-billion plant from LG Chem as the region can't support the amount of electricity needed for the facility, according to the head of Invest WindsorEssex.

The supply plant, according to Invest Windsor-Essex CEO Stephen MacKenzie, could have brought 1,000 to 1,500 jobs to the region, adding on to the economic growth that the city has seen in recent weeks. He said the company is "annoyed that something as basic as electricity infrastructure is hindering the further expansion of our automobility cluster."

"We need to keep fighting for investment, we need the approvals, all players have a role to play, the province has to push for the build out of infrastructure in anticipation of demand and the companies have to build the infrastructure," he said.

MacKenzie told CBC News that this does not impact the recently announced $4.9 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant that is set to be operational in Windsor by 2024.

He said the electricity supply to fuel the EV battery plant is secured.

MacKenzie said the region had a good chance of locking in the new plant by LG Chem, but it was determined that the region was unfit to supply the megawatts needed in a timely manner.

He said this is something to look into with the Independent Electricity Systems Operator, Hydro One, as well as other local energy suppliers like Enwin Utilities and Essex Powerlines Corporation.

"To be faced with this situation is extremely disappointing," he said.

"The fact that we are eliminated from consideration ... is not where you want to be and we need action, we need the capacity built out."

He said that will take political will and prioritization.

In April, the provincial government committed to expanding the electricity transmission infrastructure in southwestern Ontario by adding five new lines to support the manufacturing and greenhouse sectors, specifically the new EV battery plant.

According to the province, three of the lines have been prioritized to streamline the approval process through the Ontario Energy Board's regulatory process.

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