HOLLAND, Mich. â€” 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 billâ€™s influence in Michigan. He did not have to travel far.
There are 17 new plants in production, under construction or approaching groundbreaking in Michiganâ€™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