From: Douglas Elbinger, Exclusive to ENN
Published June 24, 2010 09:34 AM

Vice President Joe Biden Hits Pay Dirt in Michigan

Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Michigan on Monday, June 21, for the groundbreaking of a new battery manufacturing facility is evidence that the Recovery Act grants the President announced last August, are starting to hit pay dirt, in the form of ground-breaking's and ribbon cuttings that will ultimately create "new economy" jobs.

As part of the six-week focus on the "economic recovery act" infrastructure projects nationwide, Biden's appearance signals the administrations commitment to
environmental and renewable energy projects.


The grant for this battery project is part of the $2.4 billion announced last August to develop next-generation electric vehicles using the lithium polymer battery, a "breakthrough" technology which is a key component in bringing electric vehicles to reality. Officials said the batteries can store up to three times more energy than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used in most hybrids. Dow Kokam, a joint venture was created by Dow Chemical of Midland, Michigan, to research, develop and produce this new battery technology, and has secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant of $161 million dollars and tax credits totaling $180 million dollars from the State of Michigan.

Midland-based Dow Chemical's chief executive Andrew Liveris and Dow Kokam chief Ravi Shanker will participated in the ground breaking along with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Michigan Senators Levin and Stabenow.

In a prepared statement, Dow said its green initiatives "highlight the type of economic development and job creation that is occurring in mid-Michigan, and how Dow, through its many technological innovations, is helping to build the new Michigan economy."

In addition to creating 1,000 construction jobs, Dow says the project will eventually employ 800 permanent manufacturing workers. The 800,000-square-foot Dow Kokam battery facility will be built in two phases next to Dow Chemical's Michigan Operations Site. When complete in about two years, it is expected to be able to produce enough batteries to supply 60,000 hybrid or electric vehicles per year

David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, said: "This summer will be the most active Recovery Act season yet, with thousands of highly-visible road, bridge, water and other infrastructure projects breaking ground across the country, giving the American people a first-hand look at the Recovery Act in their own backyards and making it crystal clear what the cost would have been of doing nothing."

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