State poised to be first in nation to produce lithium-ion car batteries
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today lauded the announcement by A123 Systems that it is applying for $1.84 billion in federal loans to build the nation's first commercial-scale lithium-ion advanced storage systems manufacturing plant in Michigan.
"These technologies are exactly what we envision in our drive to make Michigan the alternative energy capital of North America and the advanced battery capital of the world," Granholm said. "Michigan is the state that put the America on wheels, and this project is a major step to making Michigan the state that helps reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil."
In November, A123 Systems was designated a Michigan Center of Energy Excellence and granted $10 million to establish a collaboration with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University to focus on the manufacture of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in transportation and alternative energy sectors.
Granholm said the project outlined by A123 Systems is the type of project that could benefit from $100 million in refundable tax credits that she fought for in the closing days of the 2008 legislative session. The governor has pledged to sign that legislation into law.
In addition to putting state initiatives in place to encourage battery research, development and production in Michigan, the governor has also called on congressional leaders to enact federal investments in alternative energy technologies. In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on November 6, Granholm urged them to "consider investments in new energy technologies that can provide more economy-changing jobs in the future. These investments can lead to not only further job creation, but also can help our nation develop the technologies needed to end our dependence on foreign oil. Green energy manufacturing is considered to be a perfect fit for Michigan."
The International Energy Agency estimates that some $20 trillion will be spent worldwide on energy production in the next 25 years. According to the Center for American Progress, Michigan can create more than 60,000 new jobs by investing in alternative energy, including advanced battery storage, biofuels, wind and solar.
"Michigan has been the most aggressive state in the nation in developing our alternative energy capabilities through our Centers of Energy Excellence, 21st Century Jobs Funds, and even our high-tech tax credits available through the Michigan Economic Growth Authority," Granholm said. "No state is better armed to create new technologies that produce renewable, sustainable energy, fight global warming, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil than Michigan."
James C. Epolito, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation said the agency looks forward to working with A123 Systems on this project.
"We look forward to partnering with A123 Systems and others seeking to develop their alternative energy technology," Epolito said. "Michigan's talent, research and development capability and established manufacturing base can provide growing companies with an opportunity unmatched anywhere in the world."
# # #