The site of the soon-to-be-completed Ultium Cells battery plant in Spring Hill was abuzz Wednesday as Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen spoke to employees about how the Inflation Reduction Act and other Biden-Harris Administration policies are incentivizing historic investments in clean energy manufacturing.
When operational later this year, the massive 2.8 million-square-foot, $2.6 billion UItium Cells plant will produce all of the battery cells for neighboring General Motors’ production of the Cadillac Lyriq as well as GM’s future electric vehicle production.
Yellen told the small crowd gathered in a massive warehouse space inside the Ultium Cells facility that since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law six months ago, “…clean energy firms up and down the supply chain have announced tens of billions of dollars in projects that will create thousands of high-quality, good-paying jobs.”
One analysis, she said, “indicates that 2022 was a record year for EV battery manufacturing in particular. Last year alone, more than $73 billion in planned projects were announced.”
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Background:Ultium Cells gets $2.5 billion jolt from DOE for three sites including Spring Hill
Ultium Cells, LLC already received a $2.5 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance the construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Michigan as well as Tennessee’s Maury County.
President Joe Biden has called for half of all American auto sales to be electric by 2030 and GM hopes to adopt an all-electric portfolio by 2040.
Yellen spoke about how the Inflation Reduction Act is onshoring battery production in addition to creating incentives. China currently produces 70% of batteries for EVs and the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives for battery manufacturing will help the United States grow the domestic clean energy economy.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is offering meaningful tax credits to spur clean energy investment and production. Importantly, the law deliberately encourages place-based investments. It offers additional incentives for businesses to invest in low-income and historic energy communities. And it also requires employers to pay prevailing wages and employ apprentices to receive full credits. That’s a requirement that went into effect last month.”
Tennessee stands to be a major player in that transition towards clean energy production. Ford is investing $5.6 billion in Blue Oval City, a 4,100-acre electric vehicle and battery campus near Memphis, and Volkswagen has launched a $33 million battery engineering lab to test electric vehicle technology in Chattanooga.
In May, GM launched the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq at its Spring Hill plant.
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Yellen said her focus at Treasury is effective implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.
“To do so, we are bringing a broad and diverse set of stakeholders to the table. And we are workingexpeditiously to maximize the economic benefits of the legislation – while making sure we enacteffective guardrails so benefits are delivered as intended,” she explained.
The expectation is year over year growth.
“Over the next year, I suspect that you will see activity accelerate. More ideas turning into plans.Plans into construction sites – just like this one. And construction sites into bustling factories.And with it, I hope, a renewed sense of optimism about America’s future.”
Melonee Hurt covers growth and development at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach Melonee at email@example.com.