HOLLAND, Mich. — In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which among other things provided $2.4 billion to encourage development of a domestic industry to make lighter, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles.
Two weeks ago, on July 15, the president flew to this small city on the shore of Lake Michigan to attend the groundbreaking for a $303 million, 650,000 square-foot battery plant operated by Compact Power, a subsidiary of LG Chem, a Korean company, and to see other evidence of the stimulus bill’s influence in Michigan. He did not have to travel far.
There are 17 new plants in production, under construction or approaching groundbreaking in Michigan’s nascent vehicle battery sector, according to the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. Two of them, representing an investment of $523 million, are in Holland, a city of 34,000.
Read more from my piece in The New York Times today here.
The auto-related re-industrialization of Michigan, much of it founded on clean car technology, represents one of the important hopeful signs of a potential recovery for the state. Moreover, the economics of this nascent transition is based on environmental principles. Vehicles are designed to be more efficient, cleaner, electric, and a bit more right-sized for the era. Michigan’s got lots of trouble but this one corner of the economy shows promise.
For those more interested in the trend, I’ve reported and published quite a number of other pieces on the green industrial trend here in Michigan.
March 31, 2008
Coal’s Soaring Costs, Wind Power’s Friendly Breeze
January 15, 2009
Obama’s Plan: Clean Energy Will Help Drive A Recovery
March 16, 2009
Michigan Unlikely Home For Solar Powerhouse
July 16, 2009
It’s Economy in Shambles, Midwest Goes Green
August 3, 2010
In Michigan, A Bet on Clean Energy Begins to Take Shape
— Keith Schneider