Governor Rendell says Battery Manufacturer Expansion will Create 86 New Jobs NEW CASTLE - Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that Axion Power International Inc., an industry leader in the development of advanced batteries and energy storage devices, is establishing a new battery technology manufacturing operation in Lawrence County. The company, which recently moved its research and development operations from Toronto, Canada, to New Castle, will create at least 86 new jobs within three years and retain eight existing positions.
"This project, and others like it throughout the state, is crucial to Pennsylvania's energy independence future," Governor Rendell said during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Axion's new facility. "Pennsylvania has earned a reputation as a national leader in the production and use of energy made from renewable sources. We will continue to invest in alternative energy projects that will help our companies and our farmers access a $30 billion market."
Axion purchased the assets of the 70,000-square-foot New Castle Battery Company, signed an agreement to lease the old manufacturing facility and upgraded it with new machinery and equipment. The company will use the facility to manufacture its new proprietary lead-carbon Pbc energy storage device. "We were looking for equipment for our Toronto facility when we were very fortunate to find this facility in New Castle," said Axion CEO Thomas Granville. "And, now that Pennsylvania has partnered with us in this project, we will be able to move the advancement of our technology forward at an accelerated pace." The company's new batteries will use less lead, offer higher power delivery rates, faster recharge rates and longer life cycles than conventional batteries. The technology will help expand the markets for hybrid vehicles and alternative energy systems like those fueled by wind or solar power. "Rising energy costs pose a serious challenge to Pennsylvania's families and businesses alike," the Governor said. "We need to act now to slash energy consumption and attract more alternative energy companies-like Axion-to Pennsylvania."
To meet this challenge, Governor Rendell proposed the Energy Independence Strategy to help save consumers and businesses $10 billion in energy costs over the next decade.
The Energy Independence Strategy would accelerate the production of clean energy components and systems by making more than $100 million available in the form of venture capital, loans and grants so Pennsylvania firms can attract private sector investors and grow.
New state resources would target up to $500 million for infrastructure improvements, construction, early project development costs and equipment purchases undertaken to attract private investment in energy-related economic development projects, including solar manufacturing; advanced coal technologies; biofuels; and energy conservation, efficiency, and energy demand management projects.
Funding for the Energy Independence Strategy will be generated by a minimal charge on electric power consumption. Similar charges are in place in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The charge is proposed at $0.0005 per kWh of electricity used.
The Axion project was coordinated by the Governor's Action Team, or GAT, which is comprised of economic development professionals who report directly to Governor Rendell and serve as a single point-of-contact for businesses considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. The team works with domestic and international businesses and professional site consultants on projects possessing significant investment and job creation opportunities.
The Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation worked with the GAT and Axion to secure a funding offer of more than $1.2 million from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The package includes a $750,000 grant through the Department of Environmental Protection's Small Business and Household Pollution Prevention Program, a $150,000 grant through the Opportunity Grant Program, $42,300 in Customized Job Training funds and $258,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits.
Axion Power International Inc. is the industry leader in the field of lead-acid-carbon energy storage technologies. Axion is producing lead-carbon Pbc energy storage devices in small quantities at its plant in New Castle and believes these devices are the only class of advanced battery that can be assembled on existing lead-acid battery production lines throughout the world without significant changes to production equipment and fabrication processes. To learn more about Axion, visit http://www.axionpower.com/.
For more information on the Energy Independence Strategy, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/.
For information on the Governor's Action Team and other DCED programs, visit http://www.newpa.com/ or call 1-866-GONEWPA (1-866-466-3972).
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/.
Governor's Press Office � Room 308, Main Capitol Building � Harrisburg, PA 17120 www.governor.state.pa.us � 717-783-1116 (Phone) � 717-772-8462 (Fax)