Panasonic's EV Battery Plant Will Use So Much Energy, It's Keeping a Local Coal Mine Open

Brittany M. Hughes | October 2, 2023
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Look, I’m not saying electric cars are a bad thing. If you want to drive around in an expensive EV searching for a charger that fits every 300 miles, be my guest.

But when it comes to the notion that EVs are soon going to take the place of gas-powered vehicles and the planet will become new and shiny once again, that’s clearly a load of bullcrap - as evidenced by the growing mound of evidence amassing quicker than the dirt piles at a child-exploiting lithium mine.

In DeSota, Kansas, one EV battery plant is using so much energy, the state has delayed the closure of a nearby coal-powered plant to make sure the battery-making facility has enough juice.

How’s that for irony?

According to this, the fine folks over at Panasonic are sinking $4 billion into their new EV plant and were hailed as heroes for their efforts (pay no mind to the fact that Panasonic is raking in about  $6.8 billion in “Inflation Reduction Act” funding to push the Biden administration’s “green” agenda, courtesy of the taxpayers). The company broke ground this year and is scheduled to start rolling out batteries in March of 2025.

Related: Jackson, Wyoming Ditches Broken EV Buses For Working Gas Ones

But there’s a drawback - see, the facility needs energy to operate. And because electricity isn't generated by magical fairies that live behind the drywall, it has to come from somewhere.

That place? Evil coal-powered plants - the same plants that often provide the electricity that courses through the home wall sockets and public chargers used to juice up electric vehicles, all while staying conveniently out of sight from the tree-huggers patting themselves on the back for their environmental friendliness.

The Cowboy State Daily reports:

The Kansas City Star reports that the factory will require between 200 and 250 megawatts of electricity to operate. That’s roughly the amount of power needed for a small city. 

In testimony to the Kansas City Corporation Commission, which is the state’s equivalent of the Wyoming Public Service Commission, a representative of Evergy, the utility serving the factory, said that the 4 million-square-foot Panasonic facility creates “near term challenges from a resource adequacy perspective,” according to the newspaper. 

As a result, the utility will continue to burn coal at a power plant near Lawrence, Kansas, and it will delay plants to transition units at the plant to natural gas. 

Evergy had planned to shutter its coal-fired Unit 4 at the Lawrence Energy Center in late 2023 or early 2024. But according to Kayla Messamore, Evergy’s vice president of strategy and long-term planning, the 4 million-square-foot Panasonic plant is just too freaking big.

"Beyond the sheer magnitude of load and load factor, Panasonic’s construction schedule, and, in turn, its energy needs, are being planned on a very aggressive schedule," Messamore said. "With energy needs starting to ramp in 2024 and full load requirements by 2026, there is urgency to procure capacity and energy to fulfill the expected energy usage schedule."

You just can't make this stuff up.