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Joe Biden is in Michigan today, reportedly to announce the first round of $2B in battery grants.  (Source: The Weekly Standard)
Grants bring good news to state's troubled economy

Michigan is among the states that has been hit hardest by the recession.  The government went to extreme measures to keep the state's economy from collapsing, including assuming majority ownership of GM and propping up Chrysler through bankruptcy.  Now the federal government is preparing to reach deeper into its pockets to help the state out even more.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Michigan today at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit.  He is reportedly going to announce the first round of $2B USD in Department of Energy battery grants.  The grants should boost the state's economy and help develop better electric vehicles, currently favored as the future of the car industry by the domestic automakers.

The federal government is also separately loaning money to battery manufacturers under the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program (ATVM).  Among the battery manufacturers that applied for that loan are A123 Systems, EnerDel, and Compact Power.  Thus far Ford, Nissan, and Tesla Motors received ATVM loans.  It is unknown who the grants will go to, but A123 Systems, EnerDel, and Compact Power seem like leading candidates.

Ed DeSeve, the president's special advisor on the stimulus program, had stated about on July 21, "I think you'll see over the next week or so ... some industrialization focus, for example, on the battery grants that are coming.  It makes sense to put those in places where there is productive working capacity -- people who can do the jobs. There are plants where the jobs can exist, and I think you are going to start to see more and more of that over time."

The ATVM loans must be repaid eventually by automakers and battery makers.  However, the DoE grants do not have to be repaid.  Michigan has also offered battery makers some big tax cuts in hopes of luring business into the state.

A limited amount of tickets to Mr. Biden's appearance have been offered to the public on a first-come-first-serve basis.



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RE: Good
By Xavier434 on 8/5/2009 2:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
For me, that depends on why the batteries become more affordable should it happen. If the battery technology becomes a lot more affordable then it will most likely become a lot more successful. Therefore, if the grants play a part in advancing the development of the technology further so that they are cheaper to produce and cheaper to sell then I'd say that is a very good thing.

If the grants do nothing more than allow the manufacturer to sell the exact same product at a lower price and result in the same amount of profit then that's not very useful to the people. That's just playing musical chairs with the money. Doing it could create some jobs so it is not a complete loss, but I would prefer the jobs be created through further means of development. That is one of those details which should be outlined in both the prereqs and regulation imo.


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