Governor Jennifer M. Granholm Tuesday highlighted the growth of Michigan’s advanced automotive battery industry and called on Congress to include electric vehicle incentives in a package of energy legislation being considered this week in the U.S. Senate.

Granholm’s remarks welcomed attendees to “Building A U.S. Battery Industry For Electric Drive Vehicles: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities,” which took place Monday and Tuesday in Livonia. The event was organized by the United States Department of Energy, the National Academy of Sciences and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The conference explored key issues facing state and federal government in their efforts to effectively develop the nation’s advanced battery industry.

The governor also outlined the state’s successful multi-year strategy to make Michigan a center of advanced battery production and create thousands of jobs for Michigan workers. The state’s innovative programs helped 13 advanced battery companies and projects in Michigan win $1.35 billion in Recovery Act grants from the Department of Energy last August.

“A clean energy economy can create millions of jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and enhance our national security,” said Granholm. “What’s absolutely critical is that we manufacture the components of a clean energy economy — the batteries, the wind turbines, the solar panels — right here in the United States. And Michigan intends to lead the way in clean energy manufacturing.”

Michigan is now home to 16 advanced battery companies in various stages of construction and production, representing almost $6 billion in capital investment. These advanced manufacturing companies will create an estimated 62,000 new jobs for Michigan workers over the next decade.

The 16 companies include A123 in Livonia, Sakti3 in Ann Arbor, Dow Kokam in Midland, Johnson Controls-Saft and LG Chem in Holland, Fortu Powercell in Muskegon, General Motors in Wixom and Brownstown Township, Magna Electronics in Holly, Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Eaton Corp. in Galesburg, Chrysler Corp. in Warren, Xtreme Power in Wixom, Toda America in Battle Creek, Azure Dynamics in Oak Park, Techno SemiChem in Northville, and ALTe in Auburn Hills.

The governor also called on Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation that increases support for electric vehicle technologies, manufacturing, and consumer purchasing.

“We need some help from Congress,” Granholm said. “This includes passage of legislation expanding the advanced energy manufacturing tax credit. We also have to continue to offer federal tax credits to consumers who purchase electric vehicles until the cost of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries is comparable to that for internal combustion engines.

The governor also said that with nearly 70 percent of the nation’s annual oil consumption used for transportation, increasing the availability and use of vehicles powered with advanced batteries and alternative fuels produced in America will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make the nation more secure.

Michigan’s long-term advanced automotive battery strategy includes two first-of-their-kind incentive programs designed to seed the industry in Michigan:

* Centers of Energy Excellence Program: grants to for-profit businesses in conjunction with at least one institution of higher learning and a national lab designed to develop, accelerate and sustain new energy sectors of the Michigan economy.

* Advanced Battery Credits Program: tax credits for advanced battery research and development and engineering, pack manufacturing, and cell manufacturing.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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