News Story

Michigan Company, Lauded As A Face Of Green Energy in 2012, Now Defunct

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama mentioned a lab technician from the Michigan business Energetx Composites as an example of someone who had a job thanks to government-subsidized alternative energy.

That employee sat with the first lady, and the mention of that employee was reported at that time by a number of media outlets, including the Holland Sentinel, MLive, WDIV, WWJ, Michigan Radio, Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free Press, Macomb Daily and The Detroit News.

Energetx received a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department’s State Energy Program to produce utility-scale wind turbines.

“Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it,” Obama said at the time.

But just three years later, Energetx filed for bankruptcy, something that was not reported by the mainstream press.

Energetx Composites produced utility-scale wind turbines and was named as a Center for Energy Excellence by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2010. It received state and federal funding for creating green energy.

“Energetx’s products have the potential to revolutionize the way that wind turbine blades are manufactured, helping position Michigan as the center in North America for advanced green manufacturing,” Granholm said in a 2010 press release.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s primary office for distributing subsidies, designated Energetx a Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone. This gave it an exemption from most taxes for 15 years, valued at over $27 million. The governor said the company would create up to 700 jobs and produce $18.4 million in private investment. But even after it received a total of $7 million in grants from the state and U.S. Department of Energy, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

The company’s contract for the renaissance zone designation was rescinded in 2012 after it failed to meet a deadline to break ground, according to the Holland Sentinel. Energetx officials said they were unable to receive loans from the bank to build a facility and at the time were looking for other locations.

But one of the few mentions of the company in a search after 2012 was a bankruptcy notice in 2015. A LinkedIn account for the company is still active and says it employs 50 to 200 employees. But the company website link posts an error message, suggesting its contents have been removed.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.