Britishvolt given green light to build first UK gigafactory

by John Shepherd
The Britishvolt site has the potential to draw on hydro-electric power via the North Sea Link. Images: Britishvolt/North Sea Link
Planning chiefs have given battery developer Britishvolt the green light to build what is set to be the UK’s first lithium-ion gigafactory, in Blyth, northeast England.

The planning approval for the £2.6b investment, by Northumberland County Council, paves the way for shovels in the ground by the end of the summer – with construction to start shortly after, with tier-one partner ISG as the lead contractor.

Britishvolt chairman Peter Rolton said today: "This is a huge win, not only for Britishvolt, but also the people of Northumberland.”

"The gigaplant will bring with it much need employment, totally regenerating the area. Britishvolt has a strong social values agenda, as well as a world-class environmental, social and governance framework. This project is the right thing for ‘UK plc’, and its people, on the roadmap to a low carbon, sustainable future.”

Three-phased construction

The construction will be in three phases – each of 10 GWh to a total capacity of 30 GWh by the end of 2027 onwards.

Britishvolt said once the facility is at full capacity, it will have a production capability "equivalent to about enough cells for around 300,000 electric-vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for the automotive industry”.

The facility is expected to be the first gigafactory in the UK as other recently-announced projects, such as that of Nissan-Envision, are in the early stages of design and planning.

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