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Granholm touts alternative energy for Michigan’s economic transformation

LANSING: Governor Jennifer M. Granholm last week celebrated the grand opening of NextDiesel, Michigan’s largest biodiesel manufacturing facility.  The plant is the first alternative energy facility to be built in one of Michigan’s ten Alternative Energy Renaissance Zones around the state. 

“NextDiesel is just the latest addition to our already robust renewable and alternative energy portfolio, which includes 20 biofuel plants that are operating or in development,” Granholm said.  “These advancements will power our economic transformation and make Michigan the state that ends our country’s dependence on foreign oil.”

The 30,000 square-foot facility represents a $20 million dollar investment. NextDiesel will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week on three shifts and is expected to create up to 25 new jobs.  The first phase will allow the plant to produce 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually, with the potential to manufacture up to 100 million gallons annually.  Multiple feedstocks from soybean and palm oil to chicken fat and beef tallow will be used to make the biodiesel.  Potential NextDiesel consumers include school districts, municipalities, construction companies, and marinas.

In 2006, Granholm announced the approval for the state’s first Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone, a 25-acre site in the city of Adrian.  Renaissance zones are geographic areas that are virtually tax-free for any business or resident that moves into or is located in one of the zones.  The Michigan Renaissance Zone Act was enacted to encourage commercial, industrial, and residential improvements in economically distressed areas in the state. 

Governor Granholm has a comprehensive economic plan to grow and diversify Michigan’s economy.  As part of the plan, the state’s alternative energy sectors are being targeted to help revitalize Michigan’s economy.  Recent alternative energy investments are making Michigan a leader in alternative energy technologies across the board.  These investments include:

• The 21st Century Jobs Fund targeting $50 million for the research, development, and commercialization of alternative energy and renewable energy projects in the state; 
• Mascoma Corporation, choosing Michigan as the place to build a cellulosic ethanol plant;
• Hemlock Semiconductor, the world’s leading producer of polycrystalline silicon for solar cells, investing $1.5 billion for three recent expansions in Michigan ;
• United Solar Ovonic, which produces some of the world’s most advanced solar panels, adding three new plants in Auburn Hills and Greenville; and,
• John Deere Wind Energy, building the state’s first commercial wind farm in the Thumb region.






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