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Britishvolt ditches Wales and opts to build UK’s first Gigafactory in Northumberland

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Britishvolt has announced that it has decided to drop plans to construct the UK’s first Gigafactory in Wales, and has instead selected a site in Blyth, Northumberland. 

Earlier this year it was announced that Britishvolt had whittled down a location for its battery factory to two sites, with the company preferring a site in South Wales. A month later, it had announced that it had formally chosen the Welsh site as the location for the UK’s first Gigafactory. Fast forward to today, and the company didn’t even mention its prior announcement in the press release. 

So, why has Britishvolt ditched its plans for the UK’s first Gigafactory to be located in Wales? Well, apparently the Bro Tathan site in the Vale of Glamorgan won’t be ready for construction by Summer 2021, forcing the Britishvolt team to look elsewhere.

The Gigafactory in Blyth will represent £2.6 billion worth of investment in the North East, with Britishvolt promising to make 3,000 highly skilled jobs available, as well as up to 5,000 more in the wider supply chain. 

Construction on the site is set to begin in Summer 2021, with Britishvolt hoping to begin production on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage devices. The company says that by 2027 it will be producing over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries a year at the site. 

Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt CEO, commented, “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.

“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 Gigafactory 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.”

Ian Levy, Blyth Valley MP, added, “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.

“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 Gigafactory 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.”

The Britishvolt Gigafactory 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-connector from the North Sea Link project.

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