General Electric is expected to announce a new research and development center in Detroit that will employ 1,200 people in “clean technology” jobs today, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press published Thursday.
The Free Press said GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt is set to address the Detroit Economic Club today. A spokesman for Immelt told The Free Press the speech would contain “some news,” and that an announcement would be made today.
Retooling Detroit for green jobs has become a major agenda under the Obama administration, as the president is pushing auto makers to transform in order to curtail America’s dependence on foreign oil. Earlier this month, President Obama gave a speech on General Motor’s restructuring, mentioning “green jobs training for auto workers in hard-hit communities.”
Todd Alhart, spokesman for GE’s Global Research center in Niskayuna, which performs a significant amount of green research and development, declined to comment Thursday night.
In May, the federal government said GE Global Research would be one of 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers in the nation dedicated to alternative energy technologies. The announcement included stimulus funding of between $2 million and $5 million per year for five years.
At GE’s laboratory in Niskayuna, the money will be used to develop high-density energy storage and conversion systems that combine the best properties of a fuel cell and a flow battery.
GE is investing heavily in the development of alternative energy systems. As part of this effort, the company is doubling its investment in clean technologies and products from $700 million in 2005 to more than $1.5 billion by 2010.
Also last month, GE said it would build a new, $100 million battery factory in the Capital Region that would make batteries for hybrid locomotives and other industries, including mining, telecommunications and utilities.