MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Excitement is building in Mason County as residents await the construction of another plant.
Fidelis New Energy announced its plans to build a clean hydrogen plant to use for the company’s planned data center campus, as well as greenhouses, transportation and steel production, on the north end of Mason County by the county airport on Wednesday. Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) said this is a $2 billion investment.
Fidelis New Energy is the second company to announce a plant in Mason County since 2021, following Nucor’s plans to build one in Apple Grove. Nucor and Fidelis are projected to provide about 1,600 full-time jobs in Mason County.
Mason County Commissioner Rick Handley says they are both wins for the county.
“When you hit a home run once in your lifetime, it’s great. Now we’ve hit two,” Handley said. “Two amazing factories, industries coming into Mason County. It’ll change the county from what it is right now.”
Susan Woods says the influx of jobs can only be beneficial for the community.
“Anything that brings jobs to a community is amazing,” Woods said. “To bring a plant, to have more jobs and insurance and benefits, it can’t be a bad thing.”
With the job influx, John Musgrave with the Mason County Development Authority believes the county’s population will triple in the next decade.
Musgrave added that Mason, Cabell, Putnam, Lincoln and Jackson counties are all participating in a housing study with Advantage Valley to determine how much housing demand will be created by Fidelis moving in.
In addition, Musgrave and Handley believe Fidelis opens the door for out-of-state employees to come to Mason County for work.
Stephen Machir, who lives in Point Pleasant, says that is a positive for the community.
“I honestly don’t care where they come from, just as long as the work gets done,” Machie said. Woods feels the same way.
“West Virginia is such a beautiful area and this area is so pretty,” Woods said. “Who would not want to move here?”
According to the Mason County Development Authority, construction is expected to get underway by 2024 at the latest. They say it will be open for operations by 2028.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.