Governor John Engler has joined the city of Detroit, Wayne State University and industry leaders in a groundbreaking for the NextEnergy Center at the Wayne State University Technology Park, a Michigan SmartZone in the city of Detroit intended to accelerate the development of the alternative energy industry.Detroit, Michigan – December 16, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] “Combined with the NextEnergy Zone and other components of the NextEnergy initiative, the NextEnergy Center will significantly expand Michigan’s leadership in alternative energy research and manufacturing,” Engler said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be the heart of a cluster of activity to meet worldwide demands for more reliable and environmentally-friendly energy products.” The new, 40,000 square-foot facility will include laboratory space, business incubator space, collaborative meeting space and other features to support the alternative energy industry. “Today’s groundbreaking is symbolic of Wayne State University’s rich tradition of combining academic and economic resources to produce great ideas and sharing that knowledge with the world,” said Wayne State President Irvin D. Reid. “The NextEnergy Center will be a great academic and economic asset for Wayne State, this community and all of Michigan.” Governor Engler introduced the NextEnergy initiative in April 2002 to put Michigan in a position to capitalize on the world’s growing needs for alternative energy sources. Major components of the initiative were approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Engler in recent months. As the physical focal point of the NextEnergy initiative, the NextEnergy Center will be the hub of varied activities, including: · – Developing educational programs in power electronics, alternative energy enabling technologies, fuel cell technology and other related disciplines; · – Providing laboratory space and business incubator space for companies involved in creating and manufacturing alternative energy products; · – Serving as a clearinghouse on alternative energy companies, programs, projects and developments around the world; · – Developing industry support services, such as marketing assessments, industry roundtables, collaborative research partnerships in conjunction with industry leaders; and · – Establishing industry accelerator programs, such as incubator space, shared laboratory facilities and conference centers · “We have worked diligently with the Governor to bring NextEnergy to Detroit because we believe it is the beginning of a new economy in our city,” said Kilpatrick. “We hope to become the national hub for fuel cell technology and research, taking the automotive industry to the next level.” In addition to the center, the NextEnergy initiative includes statewide tax incentives for companies involved in new alternative energy research, development and manufacturing expanding or locating anywhere in Michigan.