Auto supplier diversifying into alternative energy R&D, manufacturing
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced Michigan’s newest Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone, a 3.72-acre site in the city of St. Clair in St. Clair County. The zone will be home to Energy Components Group LLC (ECG), a company diversifying its vehicle-related engineering and design capabilities into the alternative energy sector with a $21 million expansion expected to create 250 new jobs over the next five years.
“This new alternative energy manufacturing hub and research and development center in St. Clair will strengthen Michigan’s leadership in this critical industry,” Granholm said. “We are continuing our efforts to diversify Michigan’s economy and help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”
ECG was created in 2008.As the only supplier of key components to leading renewable energy companies, the company is building its new manufacturing operations and engineering facility in response to increased demand for its products and capabilities.
The Michigan Economic Growth Authority board last May approved a state tax credit valued at approximately $2 million over seven years to support the company’s expansion in Michigan over a competing site in New Mexico. In addition, the MEDC will provide an employee training grant of up to $250,000 through the Economic Development Job Training program. ECG plans to acquire and install equipment in the new facility over the next few months and begin operations by the end of 2009.
“Bringing this facility to St. Clair will help attract investment and jobs to this community,” said Todd Kilgus, President of ECG. “We are pleased to help diversify Michigan’s economy by utilizing our deep experience in precision machining, fabrication and assembly of high quality components to respond to the growing needs of the alternative energy industry.”
Last December, Michigan’s Renaissance Zone Act was amended to expand to 15 from 10 the number of tax-free zones statewide to grow renewable energy companies. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board today approved the city of St. Clair’s request for the Renewable Energy Zone. The final decision on the new designation is expected soon from the State Administrative Board. If approved, ECG will be the state’s fourth RERZ, preceded by the Alpena Prototype Biorefinery, Biofuel Industries Group in Adrian, and Heat Transfer International, Kentwood, a company manufacturing custom biomass gasification electrical generation systems. The designation allows a company operating within the zone to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes for six years effective January 1, 2010.
“This project showcases the importance of helping Michigan’s automotive suppliers diversify into alternative energy supply and manufacturing,” said Greg Main, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund board. “Harnessing existing companies and jobs to development of new affordable energy sources in Michigan is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a positive economic future.”
“The availability of the RERZ was a critical part of successfully landing this new company in St. Clair County and Michigan,” Doug Alexander, executive director of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County said. “We greatly appreciate partnering with MEDC, the city of St. Clair and the county of St. Clair in making this possible.”
Michigan’s Renaissance Zone program is administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
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