£450m battery manufacturing plant gets planning green light

Posted on 7 Oct 2021 by The Manufacturer

Construction of Envision AESC’s £450m electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant moved a step closer this week after formal planning permission for the facility was granted by Sunderland City Council’s planning committee.

Meeting on Tuesday, the planning committee approved the 9GWh-capacity gigafactory at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) in Sunderland.

Envision AESC’s battery manufacturing plant will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan to create an electric vehicle hub supporting next-generation EV production and accelerating the transition to net zero carbon mobility.

As well as safeguarding around 300 roles from Envision’s existing Sunderland plant, the new facility will create an additional 750 jobs in the area.

Construction of the new building on IAMP — which spans land in South Tyneside and Sunderland — is due to begin next year to support battery production in 2024.

It is set to also potentially unlock future investment of £1.8bn on the site to generate 35GWh capacity and 4,500 new high-value green jobs by 2030.

Envision’s new factory will be its greenest to date, powered by 100% renewable energy and supported by a £80m microgrid being developed by Sunderland City Council. The plant will also deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimise energy consumption, predict demand and maintenance requirements and utilise battery storage facilities to manage energy supply intermittency.

A CGI of Envision AESC's new battery plant in Sunderland. Image courtesy of Envision AESC

A CGI of Envision AESC’s new battery plant in Sunderland. Image courtesy of Envision AESC

Envision AESC UK managing director Chris Caygill said: “We are extremely pleased with today’s decision, which means we can get on with the important job of building the plant and recruitment to fully resource the project team.

“We are immensely proud of the work we have done with our strategic partners Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council so far, which has laid the foundations for affordable EVs and sustainable growth in the region for the next generations.”

Alan Johnson, Nissan Sunderland Plant vice president, manufacturing, said: “We welcome the news that planning permission has been approved for Envision AESC’s new gigafactory.

“This is a fundamental part of our EV36Zero project, bringing together electric vehicle production, battery manufacturing and renewables, and we’re all excited to see the progress being made.”

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “We are delighted to see this hugely ambitious development move forward. IAMP is a hugely significant development, and its ability to attract and then support businesses in advanced manufacturing is second to none, in terms of the assets of the site itself and the talent pool we have to drive it.

“We look forward to seeing Envision AESC move forward with this game-changing gigafactory on a site that we are proud to be bringing forward in partnership with South Tyneside Council.”

Sustainability is a major theme of this year’s Digital Manufacturing Week, including Smart Factory Expo and Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit.