Germany: Northvolt makes progress on cell plant in Heide

Image: Northvolt

Swedish battery cell manufacturer Northvolt is making progress in setting up a factory in Germany. The communities of Lohe-Rickelshof and Norderwöhrden have agreed to enter the next phase of the approval process. In addition, Northvolt is seeking what is known as TCTF funding.

This is according to a joint announcement by the German Federal Ministry of Economy, the Schleswig-Holstein state government and Northvolt. Specifically, the above-mentioned municipalities decided to initiate the next phase of the approval process, described in the communication as “an important milestone on the way to the future start of construction”. Other steps planned for 2023 are preparing the ground for the construction of the factory and obtaining the final building permit.

Lohe-Rickelshof and Norderwöhrden are located near Heide, a town of 20,000 people in northern Germany that will be the official address of the Northvolt factory. The first batteries are expected to leave the plant in 2026. Once the factory is fully ramped up, the annual production capacity will be 60 GWh – enough to supply around one million electric vehicles with battery cells made in Germany.

In addition to the existing IPCEI funding, all parties involved – i.e. Northvolt and public representatives at various levels – are applying for funding based on the new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework (TCTF), which the EU Commission must then approve. According to the statement, the German government and the EU Commission have already begun constructive talks. If the EU Commission approves the grant, it will be the first project in Germany to receive TCTF funding. It would unleash billions in private investment and create 3,000 jobs in Heide and thousands more in the industry and service sector.

“With the new TCTF, the EU-Commission opened up a clear path towards securing important industrial investments in Europe in key green technologies”, says German Economics Minister Robert Habeck. “We have been in negotiations with Northvolt since almost one year. Our trustful dialogue with the company and all relevant stakeholders has proven successful, and important next steps towards realization of the project therefore can now be taken.”

Peter Carlsson, founder and CEO of Northvolt, says: “We’re grateful for all the efforts being made by the Federal Government, the state government of Schleswig-Holstein, the EU-Commission but also made on local level in the district of Dithmarschen. Backed by this commitment of the federal government, Northvolt has decided to take the next steps towards our expansion in Heide.”

Northvolt initially announced in March 2022 that it planned to start production at the Heide factory in Schleswig-Holstein in 2025. Then in October, the company warned of a possible delay. Now, the plant will be ready in 2026.

However, it is now also clear that Northvolt does not want to put its plans for a German factory on hold because of US subsidies. A spokesman for the company told Reuters that Northvolt could build the factory in Germany, as well as another one in North America. However, this has not yet been set in stone. It was recently rumoured that Northvolt could build its North American factory in the Canadian province of Quebec.


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