Bill Gates comes to West Virginia to talk energy, investment with Manchin – West Virginia MetroNews
Tech titan Bill Gates is set to be in West Virginia to start the week, talking about America’s energy future with Senator Joe Manchin.
Gates is among the billionaire investors in Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which a financial backer of the Form Energy project that has announced a cutting-edge battery factory at the site of the old Weirton Steel mill in Hancock County.
That project is among the first to be directly related to the Inflation Reduction Act backed by Manchin, who serves as Senate Energy chairman.
Also directly related to the Inflation Reduction Act is Competitive Power Ventures, which in December announced a $3 billion natural gas power plant for Doddridge County.
Gates and Manchin, D-W.Va., are likely to highlight development possibilities through the Inflation Reduction Act during their joint appearance in West Virginia today.
At 1:15 p.m. at the Clay Center in Charleston, Manchin and Gates will participate a casual discussion moderated by Marshall University President Brad Smith and hosted by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, West Virginia Manufacturers Association, AFL-CIO, Charleston Area Alliance and Huntington Chamber of Commerce.
Much of the focus will be the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $369 billion for energy security and climate change programs over ten years.
Sources said that during Gates’ day in West Virginia, he will likely explore yet another facility “that’s well suited to capitalize on these opportunities and the incentives that, again, the Inflation Reduction Act has made possible.” The possibility relates to nuclear energy. No announcement is likely to be made immediately.
As Manchin spent months last year debating what kind of economic and climate legislation he could support, Gates got involved, according to reporting by the business-focused Bloomberg News. “I believed it was a unique opportunity,” Gates told Bloomberg months ago.
The Bloomberg article described Gates having lunch in a Washington, D.C., restaurant with Manchin and his wife Gayle, who serves as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Their discussion included talk of the needs of West Virginia, long at the center of the U.S. coal industry.
Gates interacted with Manchin on more occasions, with some discussion about whether workers from endangered coal power plants and mining jobs could transition to build new small nuclear power plants, including ones from a company Gates founded called TerraPower.
Over time, Manchin came to embrace the bill called the Inflation Reduction Act.
Aspects of the act are meant to increase energy production to lower energy costs while increasing investment in domestic manufacturing supply chains.
That includes billions of dollars in incentives, according to Manchin’s office, such as infrastructure reinvestment loan guarantees to help existing coal and natural gas plants with upgrades to improve efficiency, adopt environmental controls or install carbon capture equipment.
More support would support natural …….