A step ahead for the Rust Belt?
The historic home of the automobile wants to be at the center of the shift to electric vehicles.
Governors of five Midwestern states last week signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to create an electric vehicle charging network across the region, and cooperate to further facilitate the transition to electric-powered vehicles.
Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin signed the agreement, which aims to provide "the foundation for cooperation on fleet electrification along key commercial corridors to safeguard economic security, reduce harmful emissions, improve public health, and advance innovation."
Related: Maine wants to take over its private electric utilities. Could other states follow?
The initiative is known as REV Midwest, for Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition. It will "future proof the region's manufacturing, logistics, and transportation leadership and position the region to realize additional economic opportunity in clean energy manufacturing and deployment," the MOU says.
"I think it's really exciting that it's happening in the Midwest, the bastion of the automobile," said Suzanne Leta, head of policy and strategy for SunPower, a company that sells and installs residential and commercial solar solutions. "I love the fact that there's leadership coming from a historic place in our country."
The regional nature of the proposal also is a plus, she told MarketWatch.
"In general it can be very helpful for multiple states to be working together to tackle climate change, regardless of the individual policy objectives," Leta said. Owners of electric vehicles need to have the certainty that they can recharge anywhere ---- and ideally do so at charging stations powered by clean energy, she noted.
"Power moves everywhere -- it is not static. The more we have regional, and ideally more national, coordination, consumers are better off. It's best when you can think big and collaborate with others in taking advantage of the shared cost and benefits."
The REV Midwest agreement was announced just days after Ford Motor Co. Inc.(F) said it would invest billions in Tennessee and Kentucky in a push to "lead America's shift to electric vehicles."
While elected officials are known for touting economic development opportunities that may not always come to fruition, there are well-paying jobs in renewable energy, Leta told MarketWatch, many of which don't require advanced degrees.
The 5-state plan, notably, is bipartisan. Governors of four of the states are Democrats, but Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb is a Republican.
See: Cities and states on the frontline of climate change aren't always upfront about risks. Does the municipal bond market care?
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 08, 2021 08:41 ET (12:41 GMT)
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