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Britishvolt invests £2.6bn in England battery gigaplant

UK-based investor in battery technologies says Northumberland site will produce ‘world-class’ lithium-ion batteries for automotive industry by end of 2023

|Dec 14|magazine7 min read

Britishvolt, the UK-based investor in battery technologies, has selected a site in the North East of England to build the UK’s first battery gigaplant.

In a statement, the company says it has acquired exclusive rights to a site in Blyth, Northumberland and intends to begin construction in the summer of 2021. It states that ‘world-class’ lithium-ion batteries will be in production by the end of 2023.

The total investment for the gigaplant is £2.6 billion, making it the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival in 1984, and one of the largest-ever industrial investments in the UK. By the final phase of the project in 2027, Britishvolt will employ up to 3,000 skilled workers, producing more than 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry. 

Furthermore, 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain will also be created by the plant.

“We are delighted to have secured this site in Blyth. This is a tremendous moment both for Britishvolt and UK industry. Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years. It is crucial for the UK automotive industry and for the entire economy that we are able to power the future. The sooner we start, the better," says Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt CEO.

“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, meets our target to make our gigaplant the world’s cleanest and greenest battery facility. We have had an extremely warm welcome from Ian Levy MP and Northumberland County Council and are looking forward to working with them closely on this project,” he adds.

The plant is widely considered to be strategically important to the UK’s automotive industry as it looks to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly electrified future. The building of the battery gigaplant is also one of the key pillars of Boris Johnson’s ten-point plant for the UK’s green recovery, as well as being an important step to a net-zero economy by 2050.

“This is an incredibly exciting announcement that will have a massive impact in the constituency and the surrounding area for decades to come. I can’t think of anything comparable in the North East since Nissan invested in Sunderland more than 35 years ago," says Ian Levy, Blyth Valley MP.

“Since Britishvolt first made contact it has been my absolute priority to work in partnership with its leadership team to do everything possible to bring this scheme to Northumberland. Advance Northumberland has also a played a critical role in reaching this point so quickly.

"There is still much to do but the prospect of the UK’s first gigaplant on the old Blyth Power Station site directly creating up to 8000 jobs is amazing. These jobs will not only return the area to the status of an industrial powerhouse but will help us retain our graduates and provide a huge boost to struggling high streets. I look forward to working with all involved and will provide the backing necessary to deliver a scheme that is a once in a generation opportunity," Levy adds.

The Britishvolt gigaplant will be built on a 95-hectare site, formerly the site of the Blyth Power Station. It will use renewable energy, including the potential to use hydro-electric power generated in Norway and transmitted 447 miles under the North Sea via the world's longest inter-connecter from the North Sea Link project.

Britishvolt statement
Energy Digital magazine