30 / 04 / 2021

Funding for Two New, Important Projects for the Whole Kvarken Region

Spearheaded by the Kvarken Council, the Kvarken region has received funding for two important projects that are extremely topical due to recent news.
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Funding for Two New, Important Projects for the Whole Kvarken Region

 

Spearheaded by the Kvarken Council, the Kvarken region has received funding for two important projects that are extremely topical due to recent news.

The Nordic Battery Belt Logistics project will look at logistics flows regarding planned battery plants in the Kvarken region, and it is one of the projects receiving funding. The other project is Fixed Link, which will focus on analyzing various business proposals received by the Kvarken Council in terms of the realization of a bridge over the Kvarken.Both projects have received funding from the European Regional Development Fund via Interreg Botnia-Atlantica.

 

Nordic Battery Belt Logistics – A Topical Project

Nordic Battery Belt Logistics will produce a strategy that aims to contribute to sustainable and cost-effective transports in the region from a cross-border perspective. The purpose is to provide a better understanding of new logistics flows that are expected to emerge in the region due to ongoing and planned battery plant establishments. In other words, the project encompasses both an inventory and a strategy for how the region’s logistics supply and infrastructure should be developed in order to support the Nordic Battery Belt cluster’s development.

News Received with Joy

CEO Mr Stefan Råback of the Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK welcomes the positive financing decision and recognizes the benefits of cross-border planning.

– Vaasa – together with Northvolt in Skellefteå, Sweden, and FREYR Battery’s planned establishment in Mo i Rana, Norway – will form a battery belt that impacts the whole Kvarken region’s logistics flows. Working together with these issues, linking up the different battery plants, and making long-term investments together is an obvious advantage. VASEK also has other, ongoing cooperative activities within the energy and cleantech sectors, and the processes support each other.

Project Manager Mr Kim-André Åsheim from Norway’s Rana Utvikling also recognizes the benefits and synergy of working together for a shared battery cluster.

– The Nordic battery belt has been discussed for a long time. With battery plants in Vaasa, Skellefteå, and Mo i Rana, this is finally becoming a reality. We have everything to gain from good cooperation in this new, European battery region.

City of Kokkola’s Development Director Mr Jonne Sandberg has already collaborated with e.g. Skellefteå for a long time, and he sees advantages in further expanding collaboration.

– There are merits to regional cooperation. We are situated quite close to each other from a global perspective, and we can market ourselves as even stronger and larger by collaborating.

– From a broader perspective, the material flow will also benefit us all in terms of planning, prioritized investments, and the ability to utilize e.g. port capacity and existing preconditions.

Business Manager Ms Anja Palm from Skellefteå Municipality:

– We currently possess fantastic opportunities to develop our region and become an important part in the green transition. This also entails major challenges, which is why cooperation across regional and national borders is important in order to attract competence and development capital.

Fixed Link Over the Kvarken – Utopia or a Necessary Investment?

The region already boasts a functional infrastructure and connections to Europe, but freight volumes will most likely increase due to ongoing, massive investments in the Kvarken region. This increases the potential for a bridge over the Kvarken, which is why the timing of the Fixed Link project is excellent.

The topic of the Kvarken bridge emerged once again last summer when Eranti Engineering Oy presented their optimistic, socio-economic calculation. This gained a great deal of media visibility, which led to numerous international actors approaching the Kvarken Council and presenting their own business models, with e.g. financing solutions for a fixed link over the Kvarken. Business proposals arrived from international actors all over the world. The project consists of two parts: a comprehensive impact assessment and an analysis of business proposals.

Ms Åsa Ågren Wikström, Board Member of the Kvarken Council EGTC and Vice Chairman of the Regional Development Committee at the Region of Västerbotten:

– If all investments go forward, a battery belt will emerge in the North, which will emphasize the importance of infrastructure. Consequently, the Fixed Link project will also become more topical than ever due to battery plant establishments. We have long advocated for a fixed link over the Kvarken.

– Both projects prove that there is a strong will in the region to cooperate and strengthen our shared region.

Chairman of the Blå Vägen association in Sweden, Mr Christer Rönnlund, adds:

– This is great news. A fixed link over the Kvarken benefits not only the coastal cities, but also all municipalities along the E12 route, which is why our Board has chosen to participate in the project’s implementation and funding. In addition, this initiative supports other ongoing investments in the region.

Mr Joakim Strand, Finnish MP and Chairman of the Kvarken Council EGTC, agrees:

– The Kvarken Council is once again ahead of its time and launches the Nordic Battery Belt Logistics project in connection to Johnson Matthey’s excellent battery plant news. Both projects provide a good way to unify the region, join forces, and develop the region together over regional and national borders.

– The report regarding a fixed link over the Kvarken appears in a completely new light after battery plant establishments were announced on both sides of the Kvarken. Visions concerning the ferry, electric flights, and the battery cluster have occasionally been met with skepticism, but now they are on their way to become reality. The same goes for the bridge.

– A fixed link will enable countless new encounters between people as well as a natural, daily interaction between Ostrobothnians in Finland and Westrobothnians in Sweden. We are grateful for our visionary officials and policymakers and their preparedness and will to cooperate to make the region the best in the world to live and work in.

Contact Information

Mr Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council EGTC, +358-50 918 6462
Mr Joakim Strand, Finnish MP and Chairman of the Kvarken Council EGTC, +358-50 310 0076

Additional Information

The Kvarken Council EGTC and the Kvarken Region


The Kvarken Council EGTC is a Nordic cross-border cooperation association for three Ostrobothnian counties in Finland, the county of Västerbotten and the municipality of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden, and the region’s cities and municipalities. Together they form the Kvarken region.

The Kvarken Council strives to promote and develop a strong and viable region with the help of cross-border cooperation. As a neutral cooperation platform, the Council serves all its members and actors in the Kvarken region. www.kvarken.org

Nordic Battery Belt Logistics

Nordic Battery Belt Logistics will produce a strategy that aims to contribute to sustainable and cost-effective transports in the region from a cross-border perspective. The purpose is to provide a better understanding of new logistics flows that are expected to emerge in the region due to ongoing and planned battery plant establishments. In other words, the project encompasses both an inventory and a strategy for how the region’s logistics supply and infrastructure should be developed in order to support the Nordic Battery Belt cluster’s development.

The partnership consists of the Kvarken Council EGTC, the Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK, Skellefteå Municipality, and the Kokkola Region Development Company KOSEK.
In addition, the project receives support from Rana Utvikling, MidtSkandia, and Future Cleantech Solutions.
Total budget 300,000 EUR
Main financier Interreg Botnia-Atlantica
Project timetable 05/2021–10/2022

Fixed Link

The project aims to create decision guidance documents that can serve as the basis for a long-term, cross-border (east-west) strategy/position for how the question of the fixed link will be promoted in the future.
The project consists of two parts:

  • A comprehensive impact assessment. The impact assessment will encompass a quality assurance of the project’s socio-economic consequences as well as a general environmental assessment of the suggested alternative routes.
  • Analysis of business proposals. Business proposals are complicated by nature, which is why expert knowledge and further investigation are necessary in order to analyze their content and assess their feasibility.

The partnership consists of the Kvarken Council EGTC and the Blå Vägen association in Sweden.
In addition, the project receives support from Meridiam, Etgar Al Engineering, and Green Carbon Recovery.
Total budget 215,000 EUR
Main financier Interreg Botnia-Atlantica
Project timetable 05/2021–10/2022