King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden on Thursday honored Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm with the Order of the Polar Star for her work to promote a clean energy economy.
Granholm, who has Swedish roots, was bestowed with the Insignia of Commander First Class during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. She said she was extremely honored by the award which she received for fostering relations between her home state and Sweden by using clean energy technologies to create jobs.
"(This is) about the effort Michigan is making in renewable energy, learning a great deal from Sweden but trying to create jobs in this new sector for us," she told The Associated Press after the ceremony.
As the automotive capital of the U.S., Michigan has experienced severe job losses due to the financial woes of the auto sector, and Granholm's state has instead begun to look into new manufacturing areas, such as the production of wind turbines.
"My strategy as governor has been to diversify our economy and move into new sectors, particularly sectors that we can be very successful in such as manufacturing the products that will lead our nation, and our world, to reduction of reliance on fossil fuels," she said.
Granholm, who together with King Carl XVI Gustaf co-hosted a climate change conference in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2008, said the state has learned much of its knowledge on renewable energy from its partnership with Sweden and Swedish companies, including how to convert municipal waste water to biogas.
"We've given Sweden the opportunity to educate America on the great technologies and breakthroughs in energy that Sweden has lead in," she said.
The governor, whose great-grandfather was a mayor in the small town of Robertsfors in northern Sweden, was accompanied at the ceremony by her parents and several Swedish family members.
Sweden's Order of the Polar Star was created in 1798 and is awarded to foreigners and members of the country's royal family for services to Sweden.