MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - Ground was broken Monday on an advanced battery manufacturingfacility expected to create hundreds of jobs and, according to Vice President Joe Biden, boost a U.S. energyproduction "revolution."
Biden was on hand for Monday's ceremony in Midland, where the Dow Kokam plant will be built.
The plant will make lithium-ion battery packs for hybrid andelectric vehicles, and will provide 700 to 800 "green-collar jobs"and hundreds more for construction workers.
Officials say the batteries can store up to three times moreenergy than the nickel metal hydride batteries currently used inmost hybrids.
"This is the beginning of a revolution in the production ofenergy in this country," Biden said.
Biden's appearance at the event was part of a six-week focus oneconomic recovery act infrastructure projects nationwide.
The Democratic vice president, talking about the $787 billionAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said he and PresidentBarack Obama "don't think government is the answer," but that itcan be the catalyst for an economic recovery by providing the "seedmoney" as it has in the case of the Dow Kokam plant.
Dow Kokam, which is a joint venture of Dow Chemical Co. and TKAdvanced Battery LLC, was given a $161 million grant to be puttoward the construction of the 800,000-square-foot plant.
Representatives from Midland-based Dow Chemical and Dow Kokamparticipated as did Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sens. CarlLevin and Debbie Stabenow.
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