When battery manufacturer EnerBlu announced it would suspend plans for a new factory in Pikeville, Kentucky, the company used an intriguing phrase. “Unexpected geopolitical factors,” the company said, had soured the deal.
According to a former executive at the company, those factors tied the rural eastern Kentucky development project to one of the world’s largest companies, the Saudi Arabian royal family, and the international uproar resulting from the murder of a prominent journalist.
Since it announced in 2017 its plan to build a $372 million manufacturing plant and bring as many as 875 jobs to the struggling region, EnerBlu was hailed as a savior for Pike County and eastern Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin called the project “truly transformative.”