Nonprofit Blasts Georgia Officials for Lack of Transparency on Rivian Deal

Georgia officials recently announced that the company Rivian will construct a $5 billion electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Morgan and Walton counties, but no one knows how much money the company accepted in government incentives.

This, according to a statement that the Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First issued this month. According to its website, Good Jobs First is a policy resource center that promotes corporate and government accountability in economic development.

“Georgia announced that Rivian will build a very large vehicle and battery plant east of Atlanta, but has yet to disclose promised incentives (more than $1 billion is likely),” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy in an email to followers.

Rivian officials said on the company’s website in December that the new plant will hire more than 7,500 people and produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year. They said they will start construction this summer and start manufacturing vehicles in 2024.

“Governments are suddenly throwing billions in subsidies at new EV assembly and battery factories. Uncle Sam, as usual, is MIA on industrial policy, so the ‘economic war among the states’ is in overdrive,” LeRoy wrote, adding Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina, and Kansas are also using subsidies to attract EV manufacturers.

LeRoy warned that states are budgeting billions to construct EV charging stations even though the potential loss of older jobs in auto manufacturing could result in fewer new jobs and fewer tax revenues.

Some people want to mandate that every new home comes wired ready to charge electric vehicles (EVs), and those mandates, if enacted, would likely raise a home’s construction costs.

And the people who want those mandates will likely push for them in about two years, said Home Builders Association of Georgia Vice President Austin Hackney.

Hackney told The Georgia Star News on Tuesday that many states and municipal governments adopt recommendations from the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). He said the IECC code updates every three years. Hackney said the city of Atlanta is the only jurisdiction he knows of that mandates that new single-family homes come equipped with EV-ready equipment in the garage.

In 2019, mandates would have cost an additional $920 for new construction versus $3,550 to retrofit existing construction, Hackney said.

Georgia retailers say that the public’s demand for EVs grows more and more with every passing year and, with that, so does the public’s demand for EV chargers.

Those same Georgia retailers want to capitalize on that trend — but they said last week that Georgia Power officials stand in their way.

Retailers made these remarks at a Georgia Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities meeting. Specifically, retailers said Georgia Power wants to block out competitors and subsidize their own entry into the EV-charging market by raising power bills for everyone across the state. If true, that means gas stations and other small businesses can’t enter the EV-charging business because Georgia Power can essentially give it away. This, as the utility, makes money by offsetting the cost through higher electricity rates.

The retailers said this practice discourages a competitive marketplace.

In 2018, The Daily Caller reported that EVs aren’t popular and only people with six-figure incomes generally own them.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Rivian Factory ” by Rivian.  


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