Charging Ahead – Georgia’s Leadership in the South’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Surge

Governor Brian Kemp is delivering on his pledge to make Georgia “the electric mobility capital of America.” His vision for bolstering Georgia’s economic competitiveness is gaining increased notice and support both at home and abroad.

A technological shift in the ways people move and get their electricity is well underway, with enormous economic implications in Georgia. In the past year alone, the state has attracted dozens of new clean energy and manufacturing projects worth an estimated $16 billion. That represents the highest dollar value for new projects of any state in America. These investments have brought with them more than 17,000 new jobs in the state’s wind, solar and electric vehicle manufacturing sectors.

Georgia is benefiting from determined leadership to bring clean energy jobs and investment to the state. State and local leaders have leveraged strategic incentives to lure domestic and international manufacturing companies to invest, grow and hire more workers in the Peach State. In January, Korea-based Hanwha Solutions announced a plan to invest $3 billion to build the America’s largest solar energy production hub in Cartersville by 2024. In June, Woory Industrial, an automotive parts manufacturer concentrating on the development of vehicle products for electric and hydrogen-fueled cars, announced an $18 million manufacturing facility investment in Dublin. Woory expects to hire 130 workers with operations scheduled to begin in November.

Altogether, clean energy manufacturing companies have announced a total of 36 new projects in Georgia over the past year; building everything from EVs to e-bikes and the batteries that power them. Factories from EV makers Hyundai and Rivian and an announced Hyundai-SK battery plant rank among the biggest jobs deals in Georgia history. Georgia is now edging out Michigan as a top draw for new investments from auto manufacturers and suppliers, according to an analysis by the Center for Automotive Research.

Electrification projects are not just a growing trend in Georgia. According to Bloomberg NEF, global investments in the clean energy transition hit $1.1 trillion in 2022, rivaling spending on fossil fuel production for the first time. That’s why Governor Kemp’s Administration has taken a proactive practice approach of going in search and courting investment both at home and abroad.

Bringing advanced electric mobility manufacturing and investment to Georgia is not just sound economic policy, it is also smart politics. Recent research from Centerline Liberties indicates strong public support behind the use of public sector incentives to growing clean energy manufacturing in Georgia. In a June survey, we found that 77 percent of registered voters in Georgia say they support the state government taking action to reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. Among Republicans, 62 percent support state government action. Nearly two-thirds of voters say incentivizing energy grid modernization will have a positive impact on Georgia.

Further, Georgia voters see these investments in advanced manufacturing as an opportunity to create more jobs at home rather than overseas. 76% of all voters, including 65% of Republicans, believe that as demand for clean energy and electric mobility increases government and business investments should ensure materials and parts are built here in America by American workers.

The changing face of U.S. manufacturing and energy production indicates that competition is fierce among U.S. states for attracting new investments and jobs. Success is predicated on navigating competition with regional neighbors and national economies worldwide. By maintaining Georgia’s national and international stature as a leader in energy infrastructure investments and carbon reduction, Governor Kemp is living up to his pledge and proving that economic prosperity goes hand-in-hand with a cleaner environment.

Alicia Downs is a Principal at TargetPoint, a Republican polling and research firm. James Dozier is the Founder & Board President of Centerline Action.