On President Barack Obama’s tour yesterday of a Wisconsin renewable energy site, he discussed the importance of clean energy manufacturing and automobiles with a “Made in the United States” stamp, according to an Associated Press report.
The President was in Menomonee Falls, Wisc. at ZBB Energy, which manufactures renewable energy batteries and fuel cells. He anticipates that the U.S. could soon be manufacturing 40 percent of the world’s supply of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, while that number was less than 5 percent just a few years ago.
Obama singled out ZBB as an example of how the U.S. can also increase American jobs through an investment in green technology.
“For years we’ve heard about manufacturing jobs disappearing overseas,” the President said during his speech. “Well companies like this are showing us how manufacturing can come back right here to the United States of America, right back here to Wisconsin.”
Energy conservation has been a popular topic in the Obama administration, beginning with 2009’s Cash for Clunkers program that rewarded consumers who purchased fuel-efficient cars with vouchers up to $4,500. President Obama also pledged to double the production of renewable energy over the next three years, creating green jobs in the process.
ZBB has benefited from the push for more green energy, as the company received a $1.3 million loan from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act State Energy Program.
This money will be used to renovate the manufacturing process, in order to increase the output of electric and hybrid batteries. It is also planning to build a second factory in southeastern Wisconsin based on increased demand for the batteries.
There are currently several electric cars on the market, including the Nissan Leaf that has been tested to travel 100 miles on a single charge. But because these cars do not come with a gas tank, they would either need publicly available charging stations or interchangeable batteries to make long trips a reality.