Official: Idaho computer chip plant makes US more resilient

Sep 12, 2022, 2:53 AM | Updated: 3:07 pm
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for Micron's planned $15 bil...

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm speaks at a groundbreaking ceremony for Micron's planned $15 billion semiconductor plant in Boise, Idaho, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, and said that America needs to start making thinks with American parts and American labor. Granholm took part Monday in the groundbreaking for what by the end of the decade is expected to be the largest chipmaking cleanroom in the United States, covering 10 football fields and creating 17,000 American jobs. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

(AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Chipmaker Micron’s planned $15 billion investment in a new factory in the company’s hometown of Boise will help protect the United States from the vulnerabilities of a globalized semiconductor market, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Monday.

“It is time to get America making things again, with American parts and American labor,” Granholm told a crowd of about 250 guests and Micron workers invited to a tent-covered dirt field for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The event included setting off a ground-clearing explosion far from the crowd that emitted red, white and blue smoke.

The U.S. and Europe are pushing aggressively to build chipmaking capacity and reduce reliance on producers that are now mostly based in Asia. Semiconductor businesses have also been trying to diversify their operations to avoid bottlenecks caused by problems — such as a natural disaster or pandemic lockdown — in a specific region.

Micron officials said that the high desert, sagebrush steppe area east of Boise is expected to have the largest chipmaking cleanroom, or fab, in the U.S. by the end of the decade, covering 600,000 square feet (55,000 square meters) and creating 17,000 jobs. Construction is expected to start in 2023, with some cleanroom working space ready by 2025 and expanding in phases.

Micron is among the nation’s largest chipmakers, with product development sites in five other states and eight countries. Research and development is centered in Boise.

Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron’s president and chief executive officer, said the company is committed to investing in the Idaho community — with an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in both K-12 and higher education. He said the company would focus on reaching underrepresented and rural school populations.

Micron “will inspire young minds to build the STEM skills they need to succeed in our technology-based world,” he said.

In recent years, state Republican lawmakers have caused dismay among Idaho’s business community by launching attacks on public education spending, which succeeded in 2021 with a $2.5 million cut to universities despite a budget surplus.

Micron officials late last year announced plans to build a 500-worker, memory design center in Georgia, partly to take advantage of that area’s education system. That sent tremors through Idaho’s business and political landscape.

But earlier this year, lawmakers approved a record $300 million boost to education. And earlier this month, lawmakers added another $410 million from a budget surplus in a legislative special session that was called due to high inflation.

“We really needed this (semiconductor plant) in the U.S. and not overseas,” said Republican state Sen. Scott Grow, who attended Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony and has helped push through legislation beneficial to Micron. “To get a big outfit like this, and to get enough workers, we have to do all we can here in Idaho to help provide that kind of education so this can continue to grow, and they don’t have to just bring in people from out of state.”

Several chipmakers last year signaled an interest in expanding their American operations if the U.S. government is able to make it easier to build chip plants. Samsung said in November it plans to build a $17 billion factory outside of Austin, Texas, and Intel broke ground last week on a $20 billon new computer chip facility in Ohio.

Micron’s $15 billion investment was made possible by last month’s passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion bill aimed at bolstering U.S. competitiveness against China and avoiding another chip shortage like the one that derailed the auto and tech industries during the pandemic. The law sets aside $52 billion to bolster the semiconductor industry that, due to COVID-related supply chain constraints, has struggled to manufacture the chips.

Besides the CHIPS law, Micron also benefits from property tax breaks in Idaho. And lawmakers earlier this year passed legislation, signed by Republican Gov. Brad Little, that eliminates sales taxes on expensive equipment Micron will have to buy to produce the chips.

Of the 17,000 expected jobs, 2,000 will be employed directly by Micron, and 15,000 are expected to come from other companies working in support of the new plant.

LaMarr Barnes, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based Kurita, said this company will bid to help create the supply of ultra-pure water needed for chipmaking. If successful, he expects to hire several hundred workers for the Boise area.

“We’d love to be able to do the work for this new fab, and if we do, we’d have to hire quite a bit of engineering staff,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A currency trader walks by the screen showing the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and Sou...
Associated Press

Asian stocks mixed on strong US hiring, OPEC oil output cuts

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday after strong U.S. hiring dampened hopes the Federal Reserve might ease off plans for interest rate hikes and the OPEC group of oil exporters agreed to output cuts to shore up prices. Tokyo and Seoul advanced while Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Chinese markets were closed for […]
23 hours ago
FILE - The exterior of Phoenix College, part of the Maricopa County Community College system, is se...
Associated Press

Arizona weighing in-state tuition rate for some non-citizens

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona voters this November will decide whether to allow students regardless of their immigration status to obtain financial aid and cheaper in-state tuition at state universities and community colleges. At least 18 states, including California and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia now offer in-state tuition to all students who […]
23 hours ago
FILE - Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at the Old Bailey in London on July 14, 2022. Spacey heads to cou...
Associated Press

Kevin Spacey faces civil trial on sexual assault claims

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Spacey heads to court Thursday to defend himself in a lawsuit filed by Anthony Rapp, the actor who in 2017 made the first in a string of sexual misconduct allegations that left the “House of Cards” star’s theater and filmmaking career in tatters. The trial, expected to last less than […]
23 hours ago
Attorney Norm Pattis looks on during the Alex Jones Sandy Hook defamation damages trial in Waterbur...
Associated Press

Closing arguments set in Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook trial

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut jury is expected to hear closing arguments Thursday in a trial to determine how much Infowars host Alex Jones should pay for persuading his audience that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax perpetrated to impose more gun control laws. The six-person jury could begin […]
23 hours ago
A worker wearing a protective suit administers a COVID-19 test at a coronavirus testing site in Bei...
Associated Press

China’s vast Xinjiang hit with COVID-19 travel restrictions

BEIJING (AP) — Sprawling Xinjiang is the latest Chinese region to be hit with sweeping COVID-19 travel restrictions, as China further ratchets up control measures ahead of a key Communist Party congress later this month. Trains and buses in and out of the region of 22 million people have been suspended, and passenger numbers on […]
23 hours ago
Electronic signage at an Optus telecommunications retail store is seen at the central business dist...
Associated Press

Australia updates law to protect data after Optus hack

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government announced changes Thursday to its telecommunications law to protect vulnerable customers after personal details were stolen in a major cyberattack on the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier. The changes to Telecommunications Regulations allow Optus and other providers to better coordinate with financial institutions and governments to detect and mitigate […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Official: Idaho computer chip plant makes US more resilient