Report is bullish on Midwest’s green energy manufacturers

Milwaukee companies in battery, wind energy manufacturing sectors could see largest benefit

If the federal government implements strong energy policies that encourage alternative energy and use of cutting edge high-capacity batteries, the Midwest’s manufacturing hub stands to gain significantly, according to a report by the nonprofit Climate Group and the University of Michigan.

“American Innovation: Manufacturing Low Carbon Technologies in the Midwest” looks at the impacts on wind turbine, hybrid powertrain and advanced battery manufacturing. The study anticipates three factors – a $17 per ton price on carbon, a green economic stimulus program, and a 20 percent federal renewable electricity standard by 2020.

The study anticipates that the three factors could lead to greatly increased revenues and employment in the wind turbine, advanced battery and hybrid powertrain industries between 2010 and 2015. The include:

  • About $7.3 billion in revenues for wind turbine components, and about 63,000 new jobs in the manufacture of components for the industry.
  • About $1.45 billion in revenues for advanced battery manufacturing, and about 12,000 new jobs.
  • Roughly $3.8 billion for hybrid powertrain manufacturers and about 31,000 new jobs.

“The Midwest already has the value chain needed to produce many low carbon technologies that are vital to America’s future,” said Amy Davidsen, U.S. executive director with Climate Group. “This report shows that the right policies will spur much-needed job and revenue growth.”

The report looked at five states – Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. It did not examine potential costs or job cuts related to the proposed federal policies, which include the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as cap and trade.

Several of the Midwestern manufacturers that could benefit from such federal programs are located in the Milwaukee area. They include:

  • Johnson Controls-Saft, a joint venture between Milwaukee’s Johnson Controls Inc. and the French battery producer Saft, which makes lithium-ion batteries for hybrid cars;
  • Menomonee Falls-based ZBB Energy Corp., a maker of zinc energy storage systems;
  • Menomonee Falls-based Magnetec Inc., which makes power inverters for wind turbines;
  • Helios USA, a startup manufacturer of solar energy panels that expects to develop a Milwaukee manufacturing facility this year;
  • Red Arrow Energy Systems, a Hubertus-based manufacturer of wind turbines.

To read the full report by the Climate Group and the University of Michigan, visit:

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