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Granholm Says Michigan Will Lead Way to Energy Independence

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

May 28, 2009

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said that Michigan is uniquely positioned to lead the nation in finding solutions that will lead to the United States' energy independence, with a revamped auto industry being an integral part of that solution.  The governor's remarks came during her address to the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual policy conference on Mackinac Island.
 
"Michigan's manufacturing capabilities, skilled workforce and geography are unique assets that will be critical in finding solutions for the nation's energy independence," Granholm said.  "We have a plan to capitalize on those assets, and together with a partner in the White House, we are poised to create an alternative energy economy and tens of thousands of new green jobs."
 
Granholm said there are three key areas in Michigan's alternative energy economy:  advanced batteries, wind manufacturing and solar manufacturing.

- Advanced batteries.  "In the next few years, we are going to create an entire new industry in designing and manufacturing advanced batteries for green vehicles," Granholm said.  She said Michigan has the world's most aggressive tax credits - valued at $700 million - designed to attract all aspects of the battery value chain, from cells to packs to the research and design.  The federal Recovery Act earmarks $2 billion for advanced batteries, and just last week five Michigan companies submitted applications to receive a large percentage of that $2 billion.

- Wind manufacturing.  Michigan has numerous high-tech manufacturers who are auto suppliers and are looking to diversify, and supplying wind turbine components is a great fit for many of these companies.  "Wind turbines need exactly the types of things Michigan is the best in the world at making: gearboxes, brakes, drive trains and carbon fiber moldings," Granholm said.  "This is a huge opportunity to diversify our companies into a fast-growing industry."  She also noted that most wind turbines are now manufactured in Europe and transported to the United States by ship, across the Atlantic and through the Great Lakes to Midwestern ports like Duluth.  "It's far less expensive to ship a wind turbine blade or tower to Duluth from Bay City or Port Huron or Muskegon than from Denmark," Granholm said.  "We have the deep water ports and the manufacturing supply chain, and we're putting on a full-court press to attract more wind turbine manufacturers to Michigan."  Federal assistance includes investment tax incentives
for manufacturers, loan guarantees, and direct federal loans for companies with difficulties obtaining private capital.
   
- Solar manufacturing.  Two of the world's leading solar manufacturers have operations in Michigan:  Hemlock Semiconductor and United Solar Ovonic.  "We developed a first-of-its-kind tax credit last year to take advantage of our great anchor companies," Granholm said.  "The anchor company tax credits give companies a financial incentive to attract other companies in their value chain to locate in Michigan."

"These are hard times, and we've been playing a lot of defense recently with our auto industry," Granholm said.  "But adversity has made us stronger, and now is the time to go on offense with our plan for an alternative energy economy that incorporates a new auto industry."
 
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