“Northvolt has decided to proceed with the next steps concerning its expansion in Heide (northern Germany),” said CEO Peter Carlsson in a joint press release with the German government. Nevertheless, the Swedish battery manufacturer continues considering building an extra gigafactory in North America.
In October last year, former Tesla manager Carlsson made all alarm bells ring in the European headquarters when he said that the plans for Heide(announced in March) could be postponed because of high energy prices in Europe and the interesting new climate plan (Inflation Reduction Act or IRA) of the U.S. government.
Half a billion?
After six months of uncertainty and intense negotiations behind closed doors, Northvolt, and the German government can now announce that the investments in Heide will continue and intensify. “After more than one year of negotiations, Germany can go forward with one of the flagship energy transition projects,” said German Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Green party).
The amount of subsidies by the German government is not yet known but must be turning around € 500 million. When starting in 2026, the new battery gigafactory is supposed to give work directly to some 3 000 employees. The plant will deliver some 60 GWh of battery capacity at full capacity yearly, enough to power 1 million electric cars.
However, the plans to build a similar factory in North America haven’t been buried. A definitive decision about that project will be made “in the months to come”, a spokesman of Northvolt has confirmed. The first two Northvolt gigafactories are being built in Norway and the German town of Salzgitter (in cooperation with Volkswagen).
The announcement of Northvolt comes a few hours after the news that the Taiwanese group ProLogium will build its first battery factory in Europe in Dunkerque (northern France). It involves an investment of € 5,2 billion and will have a capacity of 48 GWh.
The European Union has finally started its catch-up race against China and North America concerning battery production. Germany is leading the pack with a planned capacity of 498 GWh, followed by Hungary (224 GWh), Norway (136 GWh), and France (122 GWh).
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