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U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy visits Kentucky to tout investment in recycling

Governor Andy Beshear stands in an industrial facility alongside U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk.
Giselle Rhoden
Four projects in Kentucky received funding under the federal Industrial Demonstrations Program.

U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk met with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to celebrate a $270 million federal investment in copper recycling in Kentucky.

Wieland Copper Recycling in Shelby County hosted U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear for an event Friday about recent federal funding. The plant melts and recycles copper and copper alloy scrap metal for companies across the country to use in manufacturing products like electric vehicles.

The 79-acre facility received $270 million to expand its recycling technology from the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program, which is distributing up to $6 billion to fund industrial decarbonization in the U.S.

“We want to make sure industry is as clean as it possibly can, reducing our carbon footprint, reducing air pollution, [and] reducing the impacts on local communities,” Turk said during a news conference Friday at Wieland. “And I have to say, [it’s] really impressive what [Wieland Recycling] is doing on that front.”

The IDP is also meant to invest more in U.S. manufacturing.

Copper scraps are typically shipped to foreign countries, like China, for recycling, according to Wieland North America President Matt Bedingfield.

Beshear said Wieland’s expansion will bring more than 200 jobs to the commonwealth to support domestic industrial development.

“We are here celebrating the rebirth and the resurgence of American manufacturing, of finally getting back to the United States making what the United States needs,” Beshear said Friday.

Wieland opened a North American headquarters in Louisville in 2021. The recycling campus was built in 2022 with a $100 million price tag.

Wieland is one of 33 projects funded by the IDP.

These countrywide clean-energy projects are expected to reduce more than 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to the DOE. That’s equivalent to the emissions of 3 million gas-powered cars in one year.

IDP is a part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America Agenda which seeks to decarbonize energy industries, reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions and revitalize manufacturing and industry in the country.

Beshear credited the Biden Administration for the economic and manufacturing growth in the commonwealth.

“I want to thank President Joe Biden, I want to thank Congress, and I want to thank everybody who is sending this money our way,” he said. “We're going to create great jobs with it. We're going to surge Kentucky's economy forward. And just think: What we're doing right now is years of great economic development, but it's going to create decades of prosperity.”

Wieland’s expansion is expected to open in May.

Three other projects in Kentucky received funding under the IDP, totaling $970 million in federal investments.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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