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US Energy Sec. Granholm in Michigan to promote clean energy, secure domestic supply chains

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (left) speaks to reporters at Hemlock Semiconductor, Hemlock, Michigan, with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)
steve carmody
Michigan Radio
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (left) speaks to reporters at Hemlock Semiconductor, Hemlock, Michigan, with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was in Michigan Friday to promote clean energy and secure domestic supply chains.

The former Michigan governor started her day at the Xalt battery plant in Midland. She later travelled a few miles south to the Hemlock Semiconductor facility. In Hemlock, Granholm toured the company’s solar energy component production facilities.

Later, Granholm told reporters solar is the cheapest form of energy. As an example, she compared electricity costs to the current high gas prices to fill up her car.

“It would cost me, if I had to fill it up at a gas station, it would cost me 65 bucks. Maybe,” said Granholm, “If I plug it into my garage, it would cost about $12 to go the same distance.”

Company CEO AB Ghosh accompanied the U.S. Energy Secretary on her tour.

He said the federal clean energy legislation that Granholm was in the state to promote is important to his business.

“This act will create good manufacturing jobs right here in Michigan and create a resilent solar supply change in America, thereby lowering the solar energy cost to consumers,” said Ghosh.

Granholm’s visit did draw some criticism.

The state Republican Party called the former Democratic governor’s visit “a theatrical political stunt.”

“The Democrat Party has long been anti-American energy independence,” said Ron Weiser, Michigan Republican Party Chairman.

Touring facilities with Granholm, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) said investment in domestic energy is needed.

“With the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and their efforts to weaponize energy, now is the time for us...and invest in energy independence....including clean energy,” Kildee told reporters.

Granholm’s visit also coincided with the Biden Administration revoking Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status.

The action on most favored nation status will allow the U.S. to impose higher tariffs on some Russian imports to the United States.

Granholm spoke about the need to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.

“We’re doing everything possible, taking every possible step, to be able to isolate him and the oligarchs that surround him,” Granholm told reporters.

She insists the trade action against Russia will not negatively affect the Michigan businesses she visited Friday.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.