Biden coming to Durham on Tuesday to visit expanding tech company

Evan Vucci/AP

President Joe Biden will come to North Carolina on Tuesday to visit Wolfspeed, a chip manufacturer in Durham.

Biden will tout his administration’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing and infrastructure, the White House announced Friday. It’s part of an “Investing in America” tour.

Last summer, Congress passed and Biden signed a bill that includes $52 billion for U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, known as the CHIPS Act.

Wolfspeed, formerly known as Cree, is building a factory in Chatham County that was expected to create 1,800 new jobs, The News & Observer reported.

“As an American company, Wolfspeed looks forward to welcoming President Joseph R. Biden and his team to its North Carolina headquarters, where they will see firsthand our cutting-edge facilities for producing Silicon Carbide,” Gregg Lowe, the CEO of Wolfspeed, said in a written statement Friday.


“Silicon Carbide is essential to accelerating the adoption of EVs, delivering energy savings to consumers, and meeting U.S. emission reduction targets, while reducing U.S. dependence on foreign production of critical semiconductor technology.”

Silicon carbide is a semiconducting compound the company grows, before turning it into thin blank chips called wafers. Wolfspeed then either sells these wafers to other chip manufacturers or sends them to its own fabrication factories, called fabs.

History of Wolfspeed in NC

The company was founded in 1987 by a group of six men, five of whom were N.C State University graduate students. It operated under the name Cree until 2021.

In the past year, Wolfspeed has announced it will build two new factories — in Chatham County and in Germany — to meet the rising demand for its chips, which are used in products like electric vehicles, solar panels, and HVAC systems.

Earlier in the week, Wolfspeed told The News & Observer it didn’t have updates on its pursuit of CHIPS Act funds.

“The application window for Wolfspeed projects has not officially opened yet, so we’re not quite ready to discuss any plans,” said company spokesperson Brianna Reeder in an email. “We can say that Wolfspeed is eager to collaborate with its partners in the federal government to help secure our supply chains, boost economic activity, and support national security.”

This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work.

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