23 Jan 2024, 13:35
Ruby Russel

Green light for battery production plant in northern German state

NDR / Spiegel / dpa

Plans to build one of Germany’s largest car battery cell factories have been approved by local authorities on what Swedish manufacturer Northvolt hailed as a "historic day," NDR reports. Northvolt has already secured public support for the project worth some 900 million euros. Construction is set to begin this spring after two municipal councils – in Norderwöhrden and Lohe-Rickelshof – gave the project the go-ahead, according to Der Spiegel.

Northvolt plans to have the factory up and running in 2026, employing some 3,000 local staff. Spiegel reports that the German federal government has approved a grant of around 564 million euros and guaranteed another 202 million to fund the project, which politicians hope will boost Germany’s position in the e-mobility sector. The state of Schleswig Holstein will contribute a further 137 million euros in direct funding. The European Commission approved these investments earlier this month. Total investment in the project will amount to 4.5 billion euros, according to NDR. Local environment authorities for the district of Dithmarschen must still issue an official license for building to begin. The Dithmarschen district commissioner also noted that a connection will be needed between the construction site and the A23 motorway, NDR reports.

Economy minister Robert Habeck told radio broadcaster NDR-Info that the Heide region had attracted the interest of the Swedish company because it has long focussed on electricity from wind power, reports news agency dpa. "That made the difference compared to all other locations in Europe. (...) This shows that the industrial strategy and the climate protection strategy are closely interlinked and that this plan is working." The EU said the project is of strategic importance for the energy transition and warned that, without state aid, Nothvolt would have built the plant in the U.S., where support was offered via president Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

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