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New battery “gigaplant” promises to be an economic boon to northeastern England

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Battery startup Britishvolt has announced plans to build its first battery factory, on the site of a former coal-fired power station in Blyth in northeastern England. Construction is to begin next year, and production of lithium-ion batteries is to start by the end of 2023.

The company plans to invest 2.6 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) in the new plant, which is expected to employ as many as 3,000 people, and to produce enough batteries each year to power between 300,000 and 500,000 EVs.

The opening of the new battery plant will be a huge event for the local economy—Chronicle Live called it a “bonanza” that could indirectly support an additional 5,000 jobs, and “the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in Sunderland in 1984.” It’s also a milestone for the European EV industry, which badly needs to establish local battery production, and break the dominance of Asian battery manufacturers.

“This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry,” said Britishvolt CEO Orral Nadjari. “Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles just three years from now. Blyth meets all of our exacting requirements, and could be tailor-made. It is on the doorstep of major transport links, easily accessible renewable energy and the opportunity for a co-located supply chain, and it meets our target to make our gigaplant the world’s cleanest and greenest battery facility.”

Britishvolt’s “gigaplant” will use renewable energy—planners are discussing the potential to use hydroelectric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world’s longest electricity link, the planned North Sea Link project.

Sources: Britishvolt, Bloomberg, Chronicle Live

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