Biden announces $2.8 billion in federal grants to help battery manufacturers expand supply chains

Biden to announce $2.8 billion in grants for US battery supply chains

President Obama meets with the chief executives of three major U.S. battery manufacturers to announce the first-ever federal grants of more than $1 million each to help their companies expand their supply chains, and create jobs and innovation, in an announcement that could spur further government investment in the sector.

“This announcement should have been made months ago,” said the vice president’s chief technology officer, Mary Barra, who oversees the federal work. “This was long overdue.”

The $2.8 billion in grants announced Friday, to be distributed over the next four years, will go to companies that provide batteries for plug-in hybrid, electric vehicle and other transportation, aviation, military and industrial applications.

The grants are likely to trigger an increase in spending in the next few months on R&D, manufacturing and training, the White House said.

“This program will catalyze the continued transition from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and renewable sources,” Obama said. “It will generate jobs, stimulate innovation, and spur the rapid diffusion of new technologies.”

Biden’s announcement comes about two months after Obama had announced in July that the U.S. would provide $1.8 billion in grants to help automakers produce vehicles with more efficient batteries.

It also comes as the Obama administration is trying to persuade Congress to give the White House a new fiscal year 2011 national energy policy that would make it easier for the government to develop renewable energy investments as technology and innovation continue to drive down the cost of electricity.

The new grants announced Friday will help automakers extend the supply chain beyond the original battery manufacturers to additional battery suppliers as well as advanced manufacturing and design facilities. The work will be done by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a non-profit, federally funded research center that is charged with developing cost-effective energy sources.

Obama’s new National Clean Energy and Security Act approved last week would require the government to accelerate energy and environmental research and deployment, and create a mechanism to award grants to stimulate this transition over time.

The chief executive of the largest automaker in America,

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