Cummins will spend the money to kickstart production of engines powered by clean fuels like hydrogen, another step forward in building an American-made clean energy economy.
President Biden took to the stage just outside the Twin Cities on Monday on the latest stop of his “Investing in America ” tour, visiting a factory owned by engine maker Cummins.
Biden put on his usual show — He talked about what he learned at his dad’s kitchen table! He told some self-deprecating jokes! He said ‘folks’ a lot! — but then he offered up something new.
The commander-in-chief announced that Cummins will invest $1 billion in facilities in Indiana, New York, and North Carolina to create engines powered by low-to-zero carbon emitting fuels. The $1 billion investment unveiled Monday is in addition to the $10 million Cummins already has put into its Minnesota facility, where production of electrolyzers — which are the machines that produce clean hydrogen — is set to begin on April 24.
Biden described the investments as a “gamechanger,” noting that electrolyzers made by Cummins will serve as the starting point for a new, Made in America clean energy economy.
“Instead of relying on equipment made overseas in places like China, the supply chains will be again made in America. They’ll begin in America — begin in America,” Biden said. “Cummins will build the technology that produces clean hydrogen. Companies and utilities across the country will use those products to make clean hydrogen. And trucks made in America with zero-emission engines will be powered by clean hydrogen.”
Cummins has made diesel engines and heavy duty power generators in the United States for decades, and manufactured around 50% of the diesel and gas generators used by the Allies in World War II, Biden said. But when the company first began making electrolyzers, it did so overseas.
But a key piece of industrial policy encouraged Cummins to bring electrolyzer production home, Biden said.
“Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, with the tax credits for renewable energy, Cummins is going to manufacture these electrolyzers here in America for the first time. And Cummins is turning this part of the factory, where we’re standing now, into a new production line for clean energy technology,” Biden said.
“Here at this plant, 600 workers now making diesel engines will be re-trained, and an additional 100 jobs — so a total of 700 jobs — will be making clean energy technology. You know, what we’re seeing is a boon for American innovation, American industry, and it’s good for the planet as well.”
Indeed, Cummins President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey cited the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as the impetus for the new investments, noting that these policies are “driving the clean energy economy forward in the United States and critical to our decarbonization efforts.”
“The historic investments included in those pieces of legislation played a key role in our decision to manufacture products here in the U.S., creating more clean-tech jobs and positively impacting our communities,” Rumsey continued. “The electrolyzer production in Minnesota and investment in our Indiana, North Carolina and New York facilities are reflective of our dual path approach of advancing both engine-based and zero-emission solutions – an approach that is best for all of our stakeholders and our impact on the planet.”
The Cummins announcement is just one of several already made during the “Investing in America” tour, which the White House is overseeing to tout the $435 billion in manufacturing investments announced since Biden took office in 2021. Corning and CommScope unveiled major investments in fiber optic cable production last week when Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visited North Carolina as part of the tour, for example. And Biden kicked off the tour at a Wolfspeed semiconductor factory in the Tar Heel State, where he helped announce that company’s $5 billion investment into its manufacturing capabilities.
The overarching goal of the tour is to show that initial public investments can spur a whole lot more in private funding, creating jobs and building critical industries. Biden noted that his administration is also working to stand up training programs that will ensure average Americans see the benefits.
“Hear me well: We’re going to leave no one behind. We’re going to make sure all American workers, with college degrees or without college degrees, are prepared to compete with anyone in the world in the remainder of this century,” Biden said.
The “Investing in America” tour is expected to run for three weeks, with Biden, cabinet officials, and other key administration figures visiting 25 states. First Lady Jill Biden, for example, visited Colorado on Monday and is set to travel to Maine and Vermont on Wednesday as part of the tour.
We’ll keep an eye on the various stops for any additional manufacturing-related announcements. Based on the president’s remarks on Monday, we are surmising that more may be on the way.
“I’ve been determined to make things in this country again, to build manufacturing capacity in America, to make sure we’re never again in a position where… as we were during the pandemic, where we’re relying on other countries to make the things we need badly at home,” Biden said. “Some folks didn’t believe we could do it, but we made it. We made no bones about it. I’ve said for a long time: If we invest in America, we can change the country’s future.”