Just days after President Obama spoke to supporters in Los Angeles about his push for green energy, another government-sponsored, green energy-related manufacturing company announced layoffs.
The company, Compact Power, was the recipient of $150 million taxpayer dollars and millions more in tax deferments and credits. Compact Power was supposed to be building thousands of batteries for the Chevy Volt here in America. Instead, they are furloughing workers before producing a single battery, Fox News reports. Not one.
Compact Power’s parent company, LG Chem announced that workers will be placed on “rotating furloughs” (they’ll be working just three weeks each month). The South Korea-based operation is a $14 billion dollar manufacturing enterprise that employs over 14,000 workers worldwide — approximately 200 in Michigan.
It was in 2010 that the Obama administration announced that the government would be awarding $150 million of the $300 million needed to construct the 650,000 square foot plant. Over two years ago, President Obama spoke at the ground breaking ceremony in Holland, Michigan.
During his speech to the crowd gathered to declare Michigan to be the “North American Battery Capitol” President Obama told the crowd:
“The workers at this plant are already slated to produce batteries for the new Chevy Volt, learned the other day that they’re also going to be supplying batteries for the new electric Ford Focus as soon as this operation gears up. And that means, by 2012, the batteries that will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped — made in America.”
Initial estimates projected that the facility would be cranking out 15,000 of those “Made In America” Volt batteries each year. Contrary to Mr. Obama’s statement, and despite a $150 million dollar injection of taxpayer dollars, plus millions in tax credits to the company, not one battery for the Chevy Volt has come from the Michigan plant. Currently, all of the Volt batteries are being built in South Korea and shipped to America.
The blame is placed on lagging sales of GM’s alleged “game changing” vehicle. Fox News spoke with Randy Boileau, a representative for LG Chem about the layoffs, and he stressed that the plant will return to its projected output once Volt production returns later this month and demand for batteries increases. Boileau was also quick to point out that workers will be able to file for and collect unemployment benefits for the week of work they will lose each month of the furlough.
Exactly one month ago we reported that GM is losing and estimated $50,000 per Chevy Volt. We speculate that the $150 million spent to build a battery plant that has yet to provide a single battery for the unpopular car might drive that loss per vehicle even higher.