Breaking News – 98% of Clean Energy Investments Still Creating Jobs and Reducing Pollution

Alert: Expect to hear more hooey attacking clean energy! Today the big polluters and their political surrogates jumped into the fray to use the news on battery maker A123 as another launching pad to spin and sell us more snake—and heavy crude and tar sands—oil. Let’s demand better tonight.

Here’s the real story

Today’s headlines that start-up battery maker A123 would file for bankruptcy was quickly followed by news that major automotive and efficiency equipment supplier Johnson Controls would buy A123’s automotive business, complementing JCI’s existing investments in advanced battery facilities in Michigan and Ohio.  More on the details here.

As Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions said this morning:

“Our interest in A123 Systems is consistent with our long-term growth strategies and overall commitment to the development of the advanced battery industry.”

Update since this blog was published:  Johnson Control’s bid for A123 in October touched off a bidding contest with Wanxiang, the large Chinese auto parts manufacturer, Japan’s NEC, and others.  In January, 2013 Wanxiang was ultimately successful, winning approval to buy A123 for about $260M.  Wanxiang voiced a similar optimism around the future of the battery industry, and reiterated a commitment to the company’s US operations.

In other words, while pundits jumped in to score political points, clean energy investments just kept on trucking.

The new Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid EV gets a 100mpge rating from EPA and is built in Michigan. Photo: Ford Motor Co.
Clean energy investments are delivering jobs right now:

  • DOE clean energy investments across some 15,000 projects in all 50 states are overwhelmingly successful
  • In 2010 3.1 million Americans were employed in “green goods and services” as calculated by the Bureau of Labor statistics…. and that doesn’t even include most of the rapidly innovating auto industry
  • Since mid 2009, the auto industry has added over 230,000 jobs as it retools to build and sell the next generation of far more fuel efficient vehicles
  • Ohio has added nearly 10,000 auto and parts  manufacturing  jobs since July 2009. Indiana has added 20,000 and Michigan 33,000 in the same time period.
  • Toledo Ohio alone has at least $1Billion in recent investment in clean energy and advanced vehicle technologies  including a$140M investment made by Johnson Controls in their start-stop advanced battery plant in Toledo that retains 400 jobs and adds 50 more.

The electric vehicle industry is real and growing.  Yes, like any new industry the EV industry has its growing pains and its winners and losers. But real cars require real batteries and a host of other technology shared with hybrid and advanced conventional vehicles that is creating a boom in automotive innovation and jobs .

  • EV sales are growing rapidly – consumers are adopting EVs faster than they did the hybrid Prius when it was initally released.
  • Volt sales are up 300% from last year, and the Volt is currently outselling half of all car models on the market.
  • EVs are not just the Volt, the Leaf, and the Tesla, but include vehicles from Ford, BMW and others.  In fact, more than a dozen different electric vehicles will be offered next year.

Many of these vehicles, their components and batteries are being built across the US in states from California to Michigan to Tennessee, and are a part of hundreds of companies’ businesses plans.

They are also part of a clean energy transformation of the auto sector that shows that America has what it takes to combat climate change and spur an economic recovery at the same time.