Michigan legislators have praised a plan that will award a $100 million refundable tax credit to help attract an advanced German battery manufacturer, potentially bringing 745 jobs to Muskegon County in the western side of the state, according to the White Lake (Mich.) Beacon.
“This is an exciting project. There is tremendous opportunity for Muskegon to become a leader in the production of vehicle batteries,” said State Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores, a sponsor of the bill approved by the Senate on Thursday. “This project will strengthen and diversify the local economy and bring much needed jobs to West Michigan.”
“The Fortu PowerCell project will help Michigan further position itself to become a leader in the development and production of advanced batteries to power the next generation of automobiles,” said State Representative Mary Valentine, D-Norton Shores. “Our state has the top-notch workers and facilities that this company needs to thrive. In order to turn our economy around, we have to attract these 21st century businesses that will put our residents back to work.”
The two-phase project is expected to generate $670 million in investment.
Fortu PowerCell GmbH of Karlsruhe, Germany, has expressed interest in building vehicle batteries on the 400-acre Bayer CropScience site in Muskegon Township. The firm is unique because it has developed a new chemistry that makes safer batteries that provide twice the energy.
Fortu PowerCell was founded in 1997 to develop advanced battery technology. The company has identified several potential market areas, including vehicle, battery back-up systems for cell phone transmitters, power-generation plants and niche recreational vehicles.
In April, a plan was signed into law that expanded state tax credits for companies involved in advanced battery manufacturing to $555 million, building on Michigan’s first-in-the-nation tax credits that were signed into law in January.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm — returning from a 48-hour investment mission to Germany and Belgium — says fortu PowerCell GmbH will soon begin a search for a battery pack manufacturing site in west Michigan pending approval of state and local incentives, according to the Manufacturing & Technology eJournal.
The company has identified several potential market areas, including vehicle, battery back-up systems for cell phone transmitters, power-generation plants and niche recreational vehicles.
Granholm met with fortu company leaders, along with other business executives who are looking to expand their presence in the United States or are seeking international investment opportunities, according to a news release.
“There is no better place in North America than Michigan for an international battery-cell company to expand its global reach,” Granholm said. “We look forward to partnering with fortu as part of our strategic plan to become the advanced battery capital of the world and diversify Michigan’s economy.”
fortu was founded in 1997 to concentrate on battery technology characterized by its high energy per unit of weight, long operational life, and avoidance of environmental concerns relative to its manufacture and disposal.
It was unclear how big of an investment the project would be or how many jobs would be coming to Michigan.
While in Belgium, Granholm also met with Hansen Transmissions, the world’s second-largest producer of wind energy gearboxes, to pitch Michigan as a possible location for the company’s service and repair facility.