Shaping America's Clean Energy Future

Livonia, Michigan. Home to over 100,000 citizens, great schools and parks, one of Michigan's best burger joints (Bates Hamburgers) -- and now home to North America's largest advanced battery plant, further solidifying Michigan's position as the advanced battery capital of the world.

Yesterday, I was proud to take part in the grand opening celebration for A123 Systems' 291,000 square foot lithium ion battery manufacturing facility in Livonia. The new Livonia plant will enable the complete battery production process to take place under one roof, from research and development to battery pack assembly. Best of all, the new facility has already created over 300 new Michigan jobs, and A123 Systems' production plans project another 3,000 clean technology jobs to follow.

It's great news for Michigan. It's great news for American manufacturing. And, perhaps most importantly, it's great news for our nation's energy future, helping to ensure that we don't replace our current dependence on foreign oil with a dependence on foreign batteries. No other place in the country is doing more to lead the advanced battery industry than Michigan -- and it's paying off, through innovative public-private partnerships like the one that caused A123 to center its U.S. manufacturing in Michigan.

We were the first state to target the advanced battery sector, implementing the most aggressive advanced battery incentives in the nation in December 2008 when I signed the bill into law. As a result, Michigan projects were awarded more in Recovery Act-funded grants from the Department of Energy than any other state: over $1.35 billion in grants. Today, Michigan is home to 16 advanced battery facilities that are expected to create over 63,000 new jobs for our workers over the next decade.

I've written about how Michigan is leading the green industrial revolution here before -- but I haven't shared the stories of some of the workers who are leading the charge. Take a look at the video below with some of the great, clean energy workers now hired at A123's Livonia plant:

You can see the pride in the faces of A123's workers and hear it in their voices. They know they're helping shape our nation's clean energy future, and leading Michigan's economic recovery. Half of the new hires at A123's Livonia facility were previously unemployed.  This is a powerful demonstration of the job-creating potential of clean energy.

A123 Systems' new Livonia facility is a Recovery Act success story.  And another example of how Michigan is transforming the Rust Belt into the Green Belt.