NextStar Energy plant named Canada’s top business deal of 2022

Dave Waddell/The Windsor Star

The awards, which are focused on economic development projects, are given out annually by the American-based magazine for deals in North America.

It’s the first time the region has won an Impact Award.

“There’s only one category for Canada and this was deemed the most impactful,” said Invest Windsor Essex vice president of investment attraction and strategic initiatives Joe Goncalves said.

“There was a lot of hard work put into this by city council, all of Windsor-Essex our partners with the provincial and federal governments and Invest WindsorEssex. It’s good for us all.

“It’s nice when someone else gives you a pat on the back.”

A panel of nationally recognized judges from across the United States made the selection of winners.

The Windsor project was selected for its impact on creating a new sector in the local economy, its scale and for the regional approach taken to land the 4.5-million square foot facility.

The $5 billion plant is scheduled to begin early production in the first quarter of 2024.

“I think the size of the project being $5 billion and 3,000 jobs is compelling,” Goncalves said of why he felt the local project was recognized.

“Even more compelling is the effect this is going to have on our community. This is transformational for our local economy.”

Goncalves said the total impact of the battery plant will be felt across southern Ontario. Suppliers are already scoping out the region to build factories to support the NextStar plant.

“This has a generational impact for the region, which includes up to Chatham, Sarnia and London,” Goncalves said. “We’re building a world-class EV cluster in the region.

“It’s diversification within the automotive sector, but also companies bringing new technology and high-paying jobs.”

Goncalves added the award, along with the battery plant investment, adds to the region’s credibility when it comes to investment attraction.

“People want to be part of success,” Goncalves said.

“They’re going to see Windsor Essex in this magazine and see this investment and ask why there? We’re getting companies reaching out to us now from all sectors, not just automotive and EVs.”