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Plant that received $150 million Dept. of Energy grant and hasn’t produced a single battery begins worker furloughs

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By Doug Powers  •  October 8, 2012 10:47 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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In Michigan (and everywhere else), Senator Debbie Stabenow has been pushing to spend billions more on batteries for vehicles that so far not many people are buying. President Obama has of course shared that sentiment, as has a Department of Energy that rarely meets a poorly thought out “investment” unworthy of risking taxpayer money on. Here’s an update on yet another one of their pet projects, Compact Power:

President Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence “manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.

Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.

The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant’s batteries also were intended to be used in Ford’s electric Focus.
[...]
The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.

The groundbreaking ceremony was just over two years ago. Maybe if the Obama administration started insisting on using shovels powered only by American-made lithium-ion cells for their “clean energy grant” ground breaking ceremonies they’d be able to at least create genuine artificial demand for the batteries.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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