U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representative Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3) today said phase 1 of the new Wacker plant to be built in Charleston, Tennessee, will bring a projected $1 billion initial investment and at least 500 to 600 new jobs to the local economy while helping keep Tennessee on the forefront of energy technology.
“This announcement is huge for Tennessee and very welcome, good news,” said Alexander. “This new plant will help bring a cleaner future and better jobs for Tennesseans. I congratulate Governor Bredesen and Bradley County and pledge to do everything I can to help this project succeed.”
“To be back in Tennessee for the third time in less than a year with an announcement of this magnitude is outstanding and it’s a true testament to the leadership of Governor Bredesen and his economic development team led by Commissioner Kisber. I had a very good feeling about Bradley County’s chances when I met with Wacker officials and local leaders in October, and we should all be incredibly proud of this successful recruiting effort and the leadership in Bradley County,” said Corker at the announcement in Charleston. “The renewable energy industry is growing and will continue to grow for decades, making Tennessee a hub for a flourishing job market that increases our country’s energy security.”
“Wacker’s decision to build their only North American facility in Bradley County is another example of how the Tennessee Valley Corridor is a leader in energy technology,” said Wamp. “Our educated workforce and high quality of life continue to encourage economic development in East Tennessee, even during tough economic times. The leadership of Cleveland and Bradley County should be commended for their excellent work over a long period of time to make this goal a reality.”
Wacker Chemie AG, a Munich-based company, announced this morning that it has purchased 550 acres on land in Bradley County to build a plant to produce hyperpure, polycrystalline silicon, the primary component in solar wafers, solar panels, and semi-conductors. Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, President and CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, cited Tennessee’s superior rail, highway and water infrastructure, abundant and accessible energy sources like the Tennessee Valley Authority, and availability of a good, highly-skilled workforce as reasons for choosing the Bradley County site.
Today’s announcement marks the official purchase of the land by Wacker. Construction plans for the site have yet to be finalized.