Britishvolt, which specialises in battery technologies, has selected Blyth to be the site of the UK’s first gigaplant, after it was revealed earlier this month that plans for a South Wales base had fallen through.
It has been predicted that the new facility will create 8,000 new jobs.
It intends to begin construction in summer 2021 so that lithium-ion batteries for electric cars can be in production by the end of 2023.
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The company will employ 3,000 highly skilled people to produce more than 300,000 batteries for the UK automotive industry by the final phase of production in 2027. Up to 5,000 more jobs are expected from the wider supply chain.
The total investment for Britishvolt’s gigaplant is £2.6billion, making it the largest industrial investment in the North East since Nissan’s arrival on Wearside in 1984 and one of the largest in UK industrial history.
Blyth was selected for its transport links and access to clean, renewable energy. The factory, which would be built on the 95-hectare former power station site, is set to be among the largest buildings in the world at 500m by 500m.
A ‘delighted’ Britishvolt CEO Orral Nadjari said: “Now we can really start the hard work and begin producing lithium-ion batteries for future electrified vehicles in just three years from now. 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.
“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 set up an office in Blyth and have had an extremely warm welcome from Ian Levy MP and Advance Northumberland (the county council-owned regeneration company). We are looking forward to working with them closely on this project.”
The gigaplant 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-connector from the North Sea Link project.
Mr Levy, the Blyth Valley MP, said: “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.
“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 8,000 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.”