More money available for factories to shift to alt energy

LANSING, MI – Small manufacturers in Michigan will soon be able to dip into a $15 million fund to help them shift into the alternative energy business. Governor Granholm announced Monday that the federal stimulus funds will become available next month.

Governor Granholm says there are plenty of auto suppliers in Michigan who want to get into the business of building blades and gearboxes for wind turbines, or solar panels, or large-scale rechargeable batteries. But she says lenders are ignoring them.

"We know the financial institutions have basically redlined the auto industry," she says, "and it's been very difficult for auto suppliers to get access to capital."

The governor also says money that banks got from the federal government to remain afloat and are now repaying should be made available to help auto suppliers diversify.

Another big prize is $2 billion in next-generation battery research and development funds. The Detroit carmakers and their partners could get word next month whether they qualify for any of that money.