FORD WIXOM VEHICLE ASSEMBLY PLANT GAINS NEW LEASE ON LIFE AS RENEWABLE ENERGY PARK
* Ford Motor Company’s idled Wixom Assembly Plant will be redeveloped into one of the nation’s largest renewable energy manufacturing parks
* Ford has reached an agreement in principle to sell Wixom Assembly Plant to Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas, and Clairvoyant Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., which will manufacture energy storage systems and high-efficiency solar panels at the site
* Clairvoyant Energy and Xtreme Power plan an initial investment of $725 million to redevelop the 320-acre site and its 4.7 million square feet of plant space. The renewable energy manufacturing park is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs on site and in the surrounding area, as well as support thousands of indirect jobs
* Over the past nine months, Ford has worked with Clairvoyant Energy, Xtreme Power and state and local officials on a redevelopment plan for Wixom Assembly that will provide significant economic development for Michigan, and that is consistent with Ford’s commitment to environmental sustainability
WIXOM, Mich., Sept. 10, 2009 – Ford Motor Company today joined Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas, and Clairvoyant Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., to announce that the idled Wixom Assembly Plant will be transformed into one of the nation’s largest renewable energy manufacturing parks.
Clairvoyant Energy and Xtreme Power plan an initial investment of more than $725 million to redevelop the 320-acre plant site and its 4.7 million square feet of building space to manufacture solar power and energy storage systems, respectively. The two companies will utilize approximately half of the square footage to manufacture their products, and will seek additional green-energy manufacturing and support companies to lease the remaining space. The redevelopment work at the Wixom site is expected to begin early next year with manufacturing at the site slated to begin in late 2011.
The redevelopment plan is expected to create more than 4,000 direct jobs, including local suppliers, as well as support thousands of indirect jobs.
Ford has been working with the developers and state and local officials over the past nine months on a high-impact, environmentally responsible redevelopment plan for the 52-year-old auto plant that has produced such iconic vehicles as the Ford Thunderbird, Ford GT and Lincoln Continental.
“The Wixom Assembly Plant served Ford well for half a century and we wanted to ensure it served Michigan well into the future,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of two visionary energy companies and the leadership of state and local officials, we are transforming our Wixom facility into one of the largest renewable energy parks in the United States. I can’t imagine a better way to use this facility – for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”
Xtreme Power will renovate more than 1 million square feet of the Wixom site to manufacture large-scale power systems that store renewable energy such as solar and wind power and redeliver that power when needed. Once completed, Xtreme Power will produce turnkey power systems, which will support up to 10,000 megawatts of wind and solar power projects around the world. Xtreme Power systems enable high penetration rates of renewable power onto the grid and will be a critical component of the 21st century power infrastructure.
“This move is significant on both ends of the spectrum. It underscores a significant shift toward the accelerated commercialization and adoption of strategic renewable energy technologies, due in large part to the deepened commitment on the part of local, state and federal policymakers to support companies like ours,” said Carlos Coe, president and CEO of Xtreme Power. “We commend Ford for their commitment and dedication to turn this vision into a reality.”
Clairvoyant Energy will redevelop a portion of the site to build state-of-the-art, high-efficiency solar panels. Clairvoyant Energy, which has developed solar power park operations in California and Spain, is developing similar solar photovoltaic systems throughout the world. Once completed, Clairvoyant will have the capacity to produce more than 2.5 million solar panels a year at the Wixom site, potentially replacing the need for one large coal plant every year.
“Clairvoyant Energy is fully energized to respond to the United States’ call to create the green jobs of tomorrow – today,” said David Hardee, CEO of Clairvoyant Energy. “There is no better time than now, no better place than Michigan and no better set of partners than Oerlikon Solar and Ford Motor Company.”
Oerlikon Solar USA, Clairvoyant’s technology partner and a leader in thin-film solar manufacturing technology, also announced today it will establish a new regional office at the Wixom site as part of the new renewable energy park.
“As Clairvoyant’s manufacturing partner, this project is an exciting opportunity for Oerlikon Solar to apply its award-winning Micromorph® technology to a new, state-of-the-art thin-film manufacturing facility in Michigan,” said Jeannine Sargent, CEO of Oerlikon Solar. “With a strong local work force and the support of Wixom and the state, we are confident that in partnership with Clairvoyant we can help Michigan leverage its extensive manufacturing infrastructure for clean, renewable energy.”
About Wixom Assembly
Wixom Assembly Plant was one of Ford’s largest and oldest manufacturing sites, producing 6.6 million vehicles during its 50 years of operation. Production began in 1957 when Wixom became Lincoln Division’s new national headquarters and the sole producer of all vehicles for the Lincoln Division.
Over the years, Wixom Assembly produced the Lincoln Continental, Town Car, LS, Mark VI, VII and VIII, as well as the Ford Thunderbird and Ford GT. At its height, more than 5,000 workers were employed at the plant. The Wixom plant employed approximately 1,000 workers when it closed in 2007.
The Wixom site proved ideal for redevelopment for new manufacturing facilities with an existing, highly developed infrastructure including rail and electrical power access and critical scalability with more than 4.7 million square feet of space for manufacturing.
The transformation of the Ford Wixom site into an eco-responsible manufacturing park is consistent with Ford’s commitment to environmental sustainability, as well as the state of Michigan’s efforts to diversify its economy and become a leader in the clean, renewable energy industry.
“This redevelopment project is a direct result of Ford and the developers working collaboratively with state and local government officials to support a vision for a greener technology future for Michigan,” said Phil Horlock, chairman and CEO of Ford Land. “We had many options for this land, but we believe this project, which revitalizes a closed auto plant and the local community, has the greatest potential to bring green jobs and economic development to the region.”
State and local incentives were key components to bringing the energy park redevelopment project to Michigan, including refundable battery and photovoltaic tax credits, Michigan Economic Growth Authority employment tax credits, Renaissance Zone tax incentives and brownfield tax credits.
The Wixom redevelopment also includes a proposed Renewable Energy Research and Training Center at the corner of Interstate 96 and Wixom Road. In addition to providing access to state-of-the-art research and training facilities for the tenants on the site, it is intended to provide universities and colleges with opportunities for on-site applied research classes in the renewable energy field.
Source Ford Motor Company