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How Advanced Batteries Are Energizing the Economy

August 11, 2011 - 7:15pm


Thanks in part to a $300 million grant through the Recovery Act, Johnson Controls has been able to retool a shuttered plant in Holland, Michigan to produce high-tech advanced batteries.

Earlier today, President Obama visited Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan to highlight how this once shuttered factory is helping rev up the advanced battery industry in the United States. This long dormant plant was revived by a $300 million Recovery Act grant which allowed Johnson Controls to secure the private investments it needed to select the Holland facility over several other overseas locations. Similar Recovery Act investments have helped position the United States to lead the charge in advanced battery production, practically building the industry from the ground up in less than two years. In 2009, the U.S. accounted for just 2 percent of the world's advanced batteries. Over the next few years, the United States will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support 1 million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, thanks to strategic Recovery Act investments and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. This will boost our economy and help create high quality jobs all across America.

We first visited the team at Johnson Controls early last year, when they were still in the planning phase for this new facility. In the video above, you can watch Plant Manager Elizabeth Rolinski explain the implications of this investment and the ripple effect it has had on the surrounding community.

President Obama, who had Elizabeth guide him through the facility earlier today, spoke about Johnson Controls’ impact to hundreds of workers who had gathered at the facility:

“Look at this factory. Look what’s happening in Holland, Michigan. Every day, hundreds of people are going to work on the technologies that are helping us to fight our way out of this recession. Every day, you’re building high-tech batteries so that we lead the world in manufacturing the best cars and the best trucks. And that just doesn’t mean jobs in Michigan. You’re buying equipment and parts from suppliers in Florida and New Mexico and Ohio and Wisconsin and all across America… At a time when Americans are rightly focused on our economy, when Americans are asking about what’s our path forward, all of you here at Johnson Controls are providing a powerful answer.”