27 / 08 / 2021

Nordic Battery Belt to Become the Industry’s Silicon Valley

“The green shift is on the rise.” We must multiply our efforts in order to reach current climate targets, says Mr Tom Einar Jensen, CEO of Norwegian FREYR Battery. The Nordic battery belt can, and will, play a key role in this.
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“The green shift is on the rise.”
We must multiply our efforts in order to reach current climate targets, says Mr Tom Einar Jensen, CEO of Norwegian FREYR Battery. The Nordic battery belt can, and will, play a key role in this.

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Tom Einar Jensen, CEO of Norwegian FREYR Battery, attended Wasa Future Festival via a video link from Oslo. He explained the strategies behind the new, planned factories and stated that “the green shift is on the rise”. According to Jensen, the battery belt will become a global centre for circular economy.
Photo: Kvarken Council

Two days after revealing that Norwegian FREYR Battery will establish itself in Vaasa and also build five battery plants in Norway’s Mo i Rana, Mr Jensen attended Wasa Future Festival via a video link and received resounding applause after his speech.

– We can do much more than what has been done so far. Now is the time for this region, from Norway in the west to Finland in the east, to act as an example for others. We can become an epicentre for a value chain of circular economy – a Scandinavian Silicon Valley within the battery industry with a production capacity that will soon become up to 60 times greater than it is currently, Mr Jensen explains.

FREYR will deliver safe, cost-efficient, and clean battery cells to the rapidly growing global market for electric vehicles, energy storage, and marine solutions. Climate change is one of the company’s driving factors, and FREYR aims to spearhead the battery industry’s development. The establishments in Norway and Finland will support each other and function as showcases.

– Vaasa has high technological competence, and the city offers an ideal location with access to local raw materials, short logistics chains, and renewable energy as well as a unique cluster of world-leading suppliers for the whole battery value chain, Mr Jensen answers when asked why the company chose Vaasa.
– There are obvious synergies with factories in several places, and these factories are needed to meet the huge demand that currently exists, he adds.

FREYR already negotiates with around 60 different clients, and there is an acute need. The company’s whole strategy is based on swiftness, scalability, and sustainability.

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Riitta Björkenheim, Tomas Häyry and Rickard Carstedt rejoice over Norwegian FREYR Battery’s letter of intent with Vaasa. The Nordic battery belt will become a reality, and the region now needs both courage and cooperation to attract the necessary labour force – and to stop its own brain drain.
Photo: Anna Sand / bySand

Preparatory work will now begin in the city of Vaasa before the establishment. This includes environmental impact assessments, planning, and the construction of infrastructure.

– There’s much to be done, but we’re well prepared and already possess a great deal of background work. We’re convinced that we’ll succeed extremely well thanks to the high ambitions on sustainability, growth, and swiftness that we share with FREYR, states Mr Tomas Häyry, Mayor of Vaasa.

Spillover effects of the establishments that will take place in the GigaVaasa industrial zone can become enormous. According to Mr Rickard Carstedt, Chairman of the Regional Development Board in Västerbotten, every new job in the battery factory may create five other new jobs in the form of spillover effects.

– Development may become gigantic, and we now need courageous political decisions. We must build the housing that will be needed and get the competence to stay in the region. We face the same challenges in Skellefteå as in Vaasa, and collaboration becomes increasingly important now that we’re on the way towards a new, shared labour market, Mr Carstedt explains.

Development Director Ms Riitta Björkenheim from VASEK continues:

– We must create a region that is sufficiently attractive for our own young population and even for the international workforce. In the future, there will be a need for a greater degree of multilocality and cultural understanding – even language skills. The Kvarken region is now put on Northern Europe’s map, and we must create an attractive entirety that extends well beyond just the job and work, Ms Björkenheim concludes.

Text: Anna Sand

Photos: Anna Sand and the Kvarken Council

If you missed out, don’t worry! You will find the webinar recording: HERE

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