Northvolt says Germany battery plant talks continue

BERLIN — Northvolt said Wednesday it believes Germany is an industrial location and is continuing discussions to build a battery factory there.

The $369 billion U.S. Inflation Reduction Act passed last year has caused companies including Northvolt to reconsider their plans to invest in Europe. Because it was lured by big subsidies and cheap energy across the Atlantic.

“We believe in the location. There are certain requirements to make this viable in competition with the United States.”

Nicolas Steinbacher, head of strategy and programs at Northvolt in Germany, said at the battery conference in Berlin: “We are working with the government in a spirit of trust to resolve these challenges,” he added.

Northvolt has held public consultations in Heide, northern Germany, and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the state of Schleswig-Holstein on a potential battery plant in 2022.

Northvolt shareholders include Volkswagen and Goldman Sachs.

Chief Executive Peter Carlson said last October that Northvolt had postponed a plant that was due to start production in the second half of 2025, citing soaring energy prices in Europe, instead of expanding in the United States. He said it could be a priority.

“At current electricity rates, it’s not going to work,” Steinbacher said Wednesday, echoing the CEO’s comments.

“We are in good talks with local authorities and the federal government on how to get the Heide project off the ground and ensure that the prospects for European cell production are not jeopardized by rising electricity prices,” he said.

The European Union said Tuesday it would respond to Washington’s program with its own plan to make life easier for green industries and mobilize state aid and sovereign funds to keep businesses in the region, but the proposed funds has not yet gained the support of all EU governments, especially Germany.

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