DETROIT (WXYZ) — As we fight climate change, we are going through an energy revolution that is going to take batteries. So how do you get companies to make the batteries that we are going to need right here in the USA? One way is to subsidize it.
In the bipartisan infrastructure law that the president signed last November, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Congress provided funding to do just that.
“In that law, there was a big slug of money for the future of the auto industry, in particular for the guts to the electric vehicle, which is the battery of the electric vehicles,” explained Granholm.
There is now $3.16 billion in funding available to companies that want to manufacture, process or recycle batteries.
Proponents say the funding is needed to help U.S. companies create jobs in an unfair global market.
“We’re not going to let China lead in producing those minerals. We are going to bring it home. We are going to protect our national supply chain and we are going to do it with American workers,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell.
“We know that in a global economy some of our competitor nations subsidize directly. We don’t have state-owned enterprises in America, but what we do have are public-partner partnerships,” said Granholm.
Companies that want to take advantage of this funding will have to make a matching investment.
“So the $3.1 billion ends up becoming $6.2 billion," said Granholm.
It may be especially important for Michigan’s economy to see such investments. Analysis from the Economic Policy Institute said it is possible the transition to electric vehicles will cost about 75,000 manufacturing jobs. However, the study also found that by building components for electric vehicles such as batteries, we could potentially create up to 150 thousand manufacturing jobs.
“If we can get that whole supply chain in the United States, it is many, many, many more jobs,” she said.