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Tomorrow, tomorrow: The stimulus grants for advanced battery manufacturing that were supposed to be announced by the end of last week are reportedly now set to come out on Wednesday, auto industry insiders tell the Detroit News. Vice President Biden is slated to announce the first round of grants under the $2.4 billion program, officially called the Electric Drive Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, tomorrow during a talk in Detroit about the economy and stimulus spending.
While the Department of Energy plans to award up to 35 grants in all, just a handful of the some 165 applicants under the program will take home the bulk of the cash: $1.2 billion has been set aside for seven to eight battery cell and pack manufacturing facilities.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Biden will make the announcement with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who has been working this year to lure battery factories (and the new jobs that would come with them) to the state — so we suspect that at least one of tomorrow’s grants will go to a company looking to set up shop in Michigan.
Michigan has at least one local startup in the running for these grants. Khosla Ventures-backed battery startup Sakti3, which got its start at the University of Michigan under the direction of CEO Ann Marie Sastry, has requested $15 million to set up commercial production and won a state tax credit valued at $2.3 million over 10 years.
There’s also Massachusetts-based A123Systems; Michigan pledged in April to offer a 50 percent credit for the company’s capital investment expenses for a new battery cell plant, and up to $23.5 million in tax credits over 15 years — if A123 can snag “adequate funds from the DOE” to go through with the plan.
Startups like A123 and Sakti3, however, face tough competition for the DOE grants from larger companies including General Electric (s GE), which has invested $70 million in A123, and has the advantage of years of large-scale manufacturing experience under its belt.