Batteries will help drive Biden's green energy agenda, says US energy secretary nominee Granholm

by Michael Green
US energy secretary nominee Jennifer Granholm. Photo: The White House
Renewed US investment in battery manufacturing as part of a green energy push "can benefit every single state”, President Joe Biden’s nominee for energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, has told senators.

Granholm told her Senate confirmation hearing that the new administration would not be "under the thumb of China” in obtaining the battery materials needed to power its green energy agenda.

And the prospective US energy chief, whose appointment is expected to be confirmed by the Senate in days, said the Biden administration would also support key national energy research already under way, including into the commercialisation of long-duration grid-scale storage.


Granholm said her experience as a former governor of Michigan, when she led a push for federal funds to spur electric vehicles and battery manufacturing at a time when the automotive industry "was on its knees”, showed her the importance of diversification to create jobs.

"Today, one third of all North American battery production is in Michigan (and) it is a sector that every single state can benefit from,” she said.

"So, we can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America. We can install wind turbines from Denmark or make them in America.”

Critical minerals

On securing supplies of minerals critical to the battery industry and reducing reliance on imports, Granholm said "we need to be independent… we don’t want to be under the thumb of China or other countries”.

Granholm said materials could be mined in the US in a way that "respects the environment, but also serves to shore up our ability to produce products like batteries for markets internationally”.

Asked about possible reforms to ease mining restrictions for minerals on federal land, Granholm said she would work with all involved "to make sure the US has its own critical minerals supply”.

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