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Hobbs' office touts Arizona clean energy economy after meeting with business leaders

The Hobbs administration met with business leaders behind closed doors Monday to discuss ways to grow Arizona’s clean energy economy.

Officials from Hobbs’ Office of Resiliency met with executives from Honeywell, Microsoft, Lucid Motors, KORE Power and other companies at Honeywell’s facility in northern Phoenix. 

The attendees declined to discuss the specifics of those conversations, but Blaise Caudill, Hobbs’ energy policy adviser, said the discussion focused on ways the state can support industry partners through efforts like building a workforce pipeline and ensuring Arizona’s electric grid stays resilient. 

“So really, we understand that at the end of the day what matters is that we’re partnering with industry to build the future for Arizona to come,” he said. 

Both Caudill and Arizona Technology Council CEO Steven Zylstra said federal investment has been a key contributor to that partnership, specifically highlighting the funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“I can speak to data I’ve recently seen that says in the two years now of the IRA, that Arizona has gotten $8.3 billion in investment and created 12,600 jobs,” Zylstra said.

Zylstra said those investments have led to a more robust local clean energy manufacturing supply chain, pointing out that Arizona now has five electric car manufacturers, four battery manufacturers and three lithium battery recyclers.  

Edwin Hernández‑Vargas, manager of state and local affairs at KORE Power, said his business has seen those impacts as well. KORE Power is currently building a 1.3-million-square-foot advanced battery manufacturing facility in Buckeye.

“For us really the benefit that we’ve seen is in this exponential growth of our demand, demand for our products,” Hernández‑Vargas said. “But also it’s helping us to truly create what our goal is to have a domestically sourced supply chain.”

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.