Start of construction for Northvolt battery cell factory in Schleswig-Holstein

Northvolt plans to build up to one million battery cells for electric cars per year in a large factory near Heide in Schleswig-Holstein. The Swedish company plans to invest 4.5 billion euros near the North Sea coast and create 3,000 jobs. Now that the state requirement has been approved and both local communities have agreed to the plans, the symbolic ground-breaking ceremony will take place on Monday (from 10.30 a.m.).

In addition to Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson, Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister President Daniel Günther (CDU), Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) are also expected to attend the official start of construction. Government circles are talking about a lighthouse project for the energy and transport transition. The location in a region with a surplus of wind power offers the best conditions for the production of green electricity.

According to the company, it wants to produce nothing less than the “greenest battery in the world in series”. The plant will use treated waste water from the region for cooling purposes. Heat from production could be supplied to a possible district heating network in the town of Heide. A plant for recycling old batteries from discarded electric cars is also being considered.

“The factory will provide a boost for the entire state of Schleswig-Holstein and the west coast in particular,” said State Minister of Economic Affairs Claus Ruhe Madsen (CDU). Together with the federal government, the state wants to create the logistical conditions for the operation. With the factory and existing research facilities as well as the abundance of green energy, the Dithmarschen region could become an energy transition competence region.

Northvolt is building its factory on an area of 110 hectares in the municipalities of Lohe-Rickelshof and Norderwohrden. Production is scheduled to start in 2026. The importance of the plant extends far beyond the north. The German automotive industry as a whole wants to become less dependent on dominant suppliers from Asia.

Northvolt boss Carlsson had signaled in the meantime that construction in Heide could be delayed. He cited the comparatively high electricity prices in Germany and higher subsidies in the USA as reasons. The company had always emphasized the locational advantages of the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein. A lot of wind power is generated there on land and at sea – which the factory needs in large quantities.

Talks about locating there have been ongoing since 2021. At the beginning of the year, the EU Commission finally approved 902 million euros in funding and guarantees for the project from the federal and state governments. They are supporting the construction of the battery factory with around 700 million euros. In addition, there are possible guarantees for a further 202 million euros. The federal government will provide around 564 million euros and Schleswig-Holstein up to 137 million euros.

According to the Swedish company, it has an order backlog of more than 50 billion dollars. Its customers are the Volkswagen Group, BMW, Scania and Volvo Cars. A research and development campus for battery cells is located in Västerås, Sweden.