Today, President Obama visited workers at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Celgard, Inc. and delivered remarks on jobs and the economy. Celgard is a global leader in the development and production of components for state-of-the-art batteries - batteries that will help fuel a clean energy economy and create jobs. (Watch a personal testimonial by Celgard’s workers on the role the Recovery Act played in their employment).
It is American innovative companies like this that are developing the technologies and industries that will power the global economy in the 21st Century. With the help of a $50 million American Recovery and Reinvest Act grant under the Department of Energy’s Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, Celgard is not only adding nearly 300 jobs – and more than a thousand jobs for contractors and suppliers – but it is also helping America build the batteries that will power cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. Before the Recovery Act, we had the capacity to make less than 2 percent of the world’s lithium ion batteries. In the next 5 years, we’ll be able to make 40 percent of these advanced batteries right here in the United States, so we are not just talking about creating jobs in the near-term, but also sustained growth and opportunity in the long run.
Celgard is just one of dozens of electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturers benefiting from Recovery Act investments and contributing to the reduction in the use of oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced batteries, capable of meeting standards for durability, performance, and weight, are a key technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles capable of getting up to 100 miles per gallon.
As the President said in his energy security remarks on Wednesday, the Administration’s efforts are all part of a comprehensive energy plan. A plan that reduces dependence on foreign oil, increases domestic energy production, improves energy efficiency…all while developing the new technologies and industries that will drive the global clean energy economy and create millions of new jobs here in America.
Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change