The last major hurdle for the planned Northvolt battery factory has been cleared: After Lohe-Rickelshof, the second local community of Norderwöhrden in Schleswig-Holstein has also approved the billion-dollar project – albeit narrowly.
One of the largest industrial projects in Schleswig-Holstein in decades can begin: The Norderwöhrden local council approved Northvolt’s plans to build a battery factory near Heide on Monday – with four votes to three. This means that the last hurdle for the billion-dollar project has been cleared. On Thursday, the second local community, Lohe-Rickelshof, unanimously approved the project.
Now the State Office for the Environment, in cooperation with the Dithmarschen district, must issue the building permit. The work is to be built on the grounds of Norderwöhrden and Lohe-Rickelshof. The decisive meeting took place on Monday in the packed hall of an inn.
The project has been keeping the community busy for two and a half years, said Norderwöhrden’s mayor Kay Uwe Evers. The region would face major challenges in expanding its infrastructure. “For this we urgently need support from the federal and state governments.” But the project also offers great opportunities. “We’re keeping an eye on you and expect something,” he said to the head of the State Chancellery, Dirk Schrödter, who was also present.
3000 jobs planned
Northvolt wants to produce battery cells for electric cars in the factory. Production is scheduled to start in 2026. The 4.5 billion euro investment is expected to create 3,000 jobs. The company has already invested around 100 million euros of its own funds in the construction project in Heide, according to people close to the project. A facility for recycling old batteries from discarded electric cars is also being considered. “The first wind farm in Germany was once built in Dithmarschen, and now the most sustainable battery cells will soon be built here,” said the managing director of Northvolt in Germany, Christofer Haux.
Before the seven local council members cast their votes, the people of Norderwöhrden had the opportunity to ask questions. A citizen wanted to know where the factory employees should live. One woman asked how council members would vote if there was construction on their doorstep. “This is happening on my doorstep,” replied Mayor Evers.
There was also resistance to the plans in the area. There is concern that the infrastructure expansion will not keep up and there will be a lot of traffic congestion, said a farmer who voted against the project. “The real main reason: There is no advantage for Norderwöhrden.”
Green light from EU
Northvolt made its final decision on the location last week by signing an implementation agreement. Some time ago it looked as if construction might be delayed. Northvolt boss Peter Carlsson cited the comparatively high electricity prices in Germany and higher subsidies in the USA as reasons.
On January 8th, the EU Commission cleared the way for funding and guarantees from the federal and state governments amounting to 902 million euros for Northvolt. They are supporting the project with around 700 million euros. There are also guarantees for a further 202 million euros. Of the funding, around 564 million euros go to the federal government and up to 137 million euros to the state. The funding is spread over several annual tranches.