3,000 Blyth jobs as Britishvolt plans £2.6bn gigaplant

Electric vehicle battery startup company Britishvolt said on Friday it has selected a site in Blyth, Northumberland, to build the UK’s first battery gigaplant, creating 3,000 jobs.

Total investment for Britishvolt’s gigaplant will be £2.6 billion, making it the largest industrial investment in the North East of England 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 the plant will employ up to 3,000 highly skilled workers, producing over 300,000 lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry.

Britishvolt said the plant will further provide up to 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain.

Britishvolt has applied for backing from a £1 billion UK government fund set up to support the mass production of batteries and help the auto industry shift towards making electric vehicles.

The company said it has acquired exclusive rights to a site in Blyth and intends to begin construction in the Summer of 2021.

Lithium-ion batteries will be in production by the end of 2023.

The Britishvolt gigaplant will be built on a 95-hectare area, 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.

Britishvolt CEO Orral Nadjari said: “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 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.”

Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy 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.

“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.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.