‘Fantastic’ green investment by Nissan boosts North East levelling up – Kwarteng

The North East received a major green levelling-up boost today with news that Nissan and its partner Envision AESC are to invest £1bn in the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries at Sunderland, creating around 6,200 jobs directly and in the UK supply chain.

Nissan will invest £423m to produce a new EV, creating 909 jobs at its Sunderland plant and more than 4,500 in its UK supply chain.

Envision AESC, which already operates Europe’s first vehicle battery plant in Sunderland, will build the UK’s first gigafactory at a cost of £450m on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) to power the new EVs manufactured at the adjacent Nissan plant.

The new battery plant will create 750 jobs with the potential for future-phase investment of £1.8bn and 4,500 new high-value green jobs by 2030.

In addition, Sunderland City Council is investing £80m in a first-of-its-kind project including a 1MW battery storage system using second-life Nissan EV/Envision AESC batteries, which will allow excess energy generated during daylight hours to be captured and used at another time, helping to balance demand on the grid.

This project will create a microgrid to link Nissan’s existing wind farms with up to ten solar farms, generating 132 MW to power the car plant and companies on the adjacent IAMP, saving 55,000 tons of carbon annually.

Huge step forward

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: ‘This fantastic investment by Nissan and Envision AESC represents a solemn commitment to the people of Sunderland, bringing further high-skilled jobs and turbocharging our plans to level up the North East.

‘This is a huge step forward in our ambition to put the UK at the front of the global electric vehicle race  and further proof, if any was needed, that the UK remains one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive manufacturing’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East…   

‘Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contribution to climate change’.

The government has put cash into the project but the amount has not been revealed. Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told the BBC that without government support it would not have been possible, but he declined to say how much financial support had been provided.

Nissan president and chief executive officer Makoto Uchida said: ‘This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes’.

Game changing

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: ‘Today’s announcement is a game-changing one for us, for the region and for UK plc, and the culmination of many months of partnership working with Nissan, Envision AESC and the UK government to ensure that we landed this transformational project’.

 Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘Nissan’s ongoing commitment to invest in the North East is testament to the skills, talent and expertise in our region’s advanced manufacturing sector. Today’s announcement also recognises the leading role our region has to play in new sustainable forms of energy, like electrification.

‘The UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 has accelerated the need for R&D and investment in electric vehicles, and Nissan’s announcement will put our region at the forefront of new developments in this sector. Nissan’s plans for its Sunderland plant will not only create thousands of direct jobs, but it will also deliver thousands more in the supply chain, ensuring the economic benefits reach right across our region.’

You can read the Nissan press release here.