LANSING, MI — Governor John Engler of Michigan has introduced an economic development plan, called NextEnergy, designed to make the state a leader in the research, development, commercialization, and manufacture of alternative energy technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cell applications will include stationary use for homes and buildings as well as mobile use to power cars and trucks.

The proposal calls for the creation of a 700-acre, tax-free NextEnergyZone near Ann Arbor, building a NextEnergy Center there, and attracting alternative energy companies to the zone.

Engler made the announcement at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn surrounded by fuel cell vehicles built by General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. He said that the plan will help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, improve the environment, and strengthen the economy.

“I am proud to launch NextEnergy — Michigan’s plan to nurture innovation, strengthen collaboration, and focus on long-term growth and job creation in the alternative energy industry,” said the governor. “The heart of NextEnergy is transforming our cluster of auto innovation into a cluster of energy innovation.”

Engler noted that the market for fuel cell products alone is expected to grow to an estimated $95 billion by 2010.

Publication date: 04/29/2002