GE to Make Hybrid Electric Water Heaters in Kentucky

GE's Consumer & Industrial division announced on June 1 that it will manufacture highly energy efficient hybrid electric water heaters in Louisville, Ky., at the company's Appliance Park facility, creating about 400 jobs.

The new hybrid patented technology will introduce a water heater that will meet the 2009 Department of Energy Energy Star standards for heat pump hot water heaters.

The decision to locate production of this product in Louisville came as a result of cooperative efforts, investments, and incentives involving GE, the IUE-CWA, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and Louisville Metro government. GE's planned manufacturing facility also has a potential to create 1,600 incremental "green" jobs over time for suppliers and contract partners and generate other positive financial impacts in Louisville and nationwide.

"We made the decision to build these products in Louisville because of the strong support from our state and local governments and the cooperative spirit of our Union leadership and our employees at Appliance Park. This clearly indicates GE's vote of confidence in this facility and our employees as a place where we can invest in our future, continuing our 50+ year history," said GE Consumer & Industrial President and Chief Executive Officer James Campbell.

Up to $17 million in incentives from the state and metro government will be made available for the design and construction of the new energy-efficient hybrid electric water heater and for several other investments that the company will make at Appliance Park over the next several years, which will total over $69 million. The state incentives, which were approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority on May 28, will be provided under the Kentucky Industrial Development Act (KIDA). Kentucky also will provide funds to train employees for the new jobs and will exempt from sales tax certain materials purchased to construct new facilities. And in Louisville, the Metro Council has approved an ordinance that will provide the city's portion of the incentive package.

Producing the hybrid electric water heater in Louisville, starting in the second half of 2011, was also made possible by a IUE-CWA vote that demonstrated a spirit of cooperation and lowered labor costs to the level GE needed to competitively produce its new innovative water heater. The union and employees approved a wage freeze until the current labor contract ends in 2011 and the implementation of new wage rates for new hires, making the facility more competitive and attractive than other manufacturing locations that were under consideration.

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