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Clean energy investments bring 'new era' to domestic manufacturing and more jobs to America's Rust Belt: 'I think electric vehicles could soon be the second-biggest employer'

"It's like a new era in American manufacturing."

"It’s like a new era in American manufacturing."

Photo Credit: iStock

The manufacturing industry is getting revived in the Midwest due to investment in new factories — this time in green energy. 

According to Inside Climate News, private companies have invested almost $30 billion into Midwest states for clean energy projects. Michigan has received $11.6 billion, Indiana $7.8 billion, and Ohio $7 billion.

What's driving these investments is Congress passing the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, providing tax credits for clean energy projects and purchases. 

Think tank E2 analyzed these investments and found that Michigan overtook Texas and Georgia for the most clean energy project funding. Indiana also outranks Texas, as Inside Climate News reported. 

E2 communications director Michael Timberlake told the outlet, "This is like a new era in American manufacturing as it switches to clean energy."

He noted that it's unsurprising since the Midwest states also drove the last manufacturing era. 

Detroit and Cleveland used to be major hubs for the automobile and steel industries until jobs started to go overseas and became automated in the 1980s and 90s. The Midwestern states even got named America's Rust Belt in the 1970s because of the decline in manufacturing jobs in that area. 

It's no coincidence that companies have picked these states to invest in because they are already industry-friendly areas. 

Electric vehicles are a big part of these clean energy investments. Toyota is expanding its EV manufacturing in Princeton, Indiana, with a $1.4 billion investment. In addition, LG and Honda are creating a joint factory to make EV batteries in Jeffersonville, Ohio, with an investment of $4.4 billion, as Inside Climate News reported, citing Reuters and a Honda press release.

The Toyota factory is expected to create 340 new jobs, while the LG and Honda site is expected to create 2,220 jobs.

"I think electric vehicles could soon be the second-biggest employer in the U.S. for clean energy jobs," Timberlake told ICN

Demand for EVs has continued to rise. In 2023, the U.S. hit a milestone when over one million battery-powered EVs were sold. 

The Biden administration has also set a goal of half of all cars sold being EVs by 2030, per a White House news release. Putting in place more manufacturing plants is essential to helping reach this goal. 

Switching to EVs is also vital to lowering polluting gases. According to Carbon Brief, EVs produce "considerably" lower toxic gases than combustion engine cars. In addition, as the electric grid transfers to more affordable energy sources, that will reduce the polluting gases further. 

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