Michigan is giving Andrew Forrest’s iron ore giant and green energy aspirant Fortescue Metals a $US12.7 million ($A19.3 million) grant to build batteries, fast chargers and electrolysers at the Australian company’s new Detroit site.
Fortescue says it is rehabilitating two former Fisher car body plants after buying the 601 Piquette Avenue site in December. Production at the historic, six-floor building is expected to start in 2025.
Fortescue says it will have the capacity to create up to 600 jobs by 2030, but must create 430 by February 2031 in order to keep the grant. Piquette Avenue is the birthplace of Ford’s first factory where it produced cheap cars at scale.
Fortescue plans to sink $US210 million into the site, including $US20 million to buy it, $US84 million for building renovations and $US106 million in new machinery and equipment, reports the Detroit Free Press.
Fortescue WAE is where the company’s engine and powertrain expertise lies, thanks to the acquisition of UK company Williams Advanced Engineering – an offshoot of the Formula One racing team – in 2022.
And the Fortescue Energy division built the company’s first electrolysers at a state-of-the-art facility in Queensland late last year, although the 1MW PEM devices are being produced manually at this stage.
Former car capital lures clean tech with grants, tax incentives
After decades of decline, America’s former automotive hubs are being revived by grants and tax incentives for clean technology companies.
The grant for Fortescue’s new battery hub comes from the Michigan Strategic Fund in the form of a $US9 million grant based on achieving set milestones, and tax incentives of $US3.7 million.
The city of Detroit is offering further tax incentives of $US7.7 million.
“Detroit is an extremely attractive place to manufacture, given the skilled workforce, existing EV and green energy supply chains, and strong support from state and local governments,” said Fortescue WAE CEO Judith Judson.
German fast charger manufacturer EcoG has also set up in Detroit, lured by generous grants and tax incentives.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state is a leader in advanced manufacturing and clean energy.
“Fortescue’s expansion in Michigan and so many of the other investments we are competing for and winning are helping us make communities across our state better places to live, work, and invest,” she said in a statement.
In November, the state passed legislation to require 100 per cent clean energy by 2040. Currently, it relies on fossil fuels for about two-thirds of its energy needs.
Extracted in full from: https://reneweconomy.com.au/fortescue-to-build-batteries-ev-chargers-and-eloctrolysers-at-site-of-first-ford-factory/