Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GE announces plans for New York battery plant

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General Electric Co. Tuesday said it will open a new, state-of-the-art battery manufacturing plant in New York State’s Capital Region to serve as the main manufacturing facility for GE’s newly formed battery business. The company plans to invest $100 million, and expects the effort to generate 350 manufacturing jobs.

Moreover, the company says its development of a high energy density, sodium-based chemistry battery providing energy storage will be applied first to GE’s hybrid locomotive, scheduled to debut in 2010. Company subsidiary GE Transportation will oversee the effort.

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GE this week made its submission for federal stimulus funds from the Department of Energy to assist the effort. The company says it has invested $150 million of its own money to develop advanced battery technologies.

Jeff Immelt, GE president and CEO, said GE chose New York for the plant site due to strong efforts by Gov. David Paterson and by Dennis Mullen, president of the Upstate Empire State Development Corp., supporting the GE project.

"This type of public-private partnership is essential to rebuild America’s manufacturing base, create new jobs, and to accelerate the pace at which new technology comes to market,” Immelt said in a statement. "We believe the advanced battery business could be a $1 billion business over the next decade.”

GE said the new factory’s exact location, still to be determined, will be in close proximity to GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., east of Schenectady, which also advances battery chemistry development. GE long has maintained a presence in New York’s Capital Region, though that presence has waned in recent times.