Department of Energy’s $259 Million Loan Will Retool Alcoa Facility, Create 200 Jobs and Improve Fuel Efficiency

BlueGreen Alliance leaders applauded a Department of Energy announcement of a $259 million loan that will help Alcoa retool what will become one of the largest automotive grade aluminum facilities in North America and add 200 good jobs.

March 26, 2015

Labor, Environmental Leaders Applaud Commitment to Domestic Manufacturing and Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2015) – BlueGreen Alliance leaders from the United Steelworkers and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today applauded a Department of Energy announcement of a $259 million loan that will help Alcoa retool what will become one of the largest automotive grade aluminum facilities in North America and add 200 good jobs. The company’s advanced aluminum products will be utilized to improve the fuel economy of millions of vehicles.

“The ATVM is a critical part of a renewed commitment to America’s manufacturing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “It will also help the United States achieve its environmental goals.”

The loan—carried out through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program—makes it possible for the company to expand and upgrade its Tennessee facility to make specialized aluminum sheet for vehicles like the Ford-F150 pick-up truck, America’s best-selling vehicle. Products like aluminum and high strength steel make the F-150 lighter and more fuel efficient while remaining equally powerful.

“The UAW has been a strong supporter of the ATVM program from its inception. This program is critical for improving fuel efficiency and strengthening domestic manufacturing and increasing our nation’s competitiveness,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “UAW members who proudly build the Ford F150 are utilizing lightweight aluminum to build the next generation of vehicles. The Department of Energy’s conditional loan to expand Alcoa’s factory in Tennessee will enhance the work of UAW members and will create more job security for them and manufacturing workers across the country.”

ATVM loans have previously helped retool 17 automotive assembly facilities such as the Dearborn Assembly Plant that manufactures the F-150. This program is one way the automotive industry is achieving the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ever undertaken in the U.S., and one of the largest achieved worldwide to date, while bringing back jobs and making powerful, globally competitive and much more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The ATVM program is designed to benefit a whole network of small, medium and large companies that support hundreds of thousands of jobs critical to America’s manufacturing industry. The DOE loan to Alcoa will also support 400 additional construction jobs.

“It’s exciting to see the many benefits this kind of fuel-efficiency technology can deliver. Lighter-weight materials such as aluminum will help cars and trucks achieve deep carbon emissions reductions and set a higher standard on protecting the environment for generations,” said Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

To date the bipartisan program has provided over $8 billion in loans—matched by over $14 billion in private investment—to 18 facilities in eight states. Those facilities in turn have supported thousands of suppliers.

View the BlueGreen Alliance’s fact sheet on ATVM here.

“It’s not enough to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we have to re-invest in the people, plants, and technology in order to realize the all of the benefits manufacturing advanced vehicles have to offer,” said Kim Glas, BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director.