EU moves to back battery and green tech factories

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The EU has announced state aid investments worth €4bn for new factories that will be producing electric batteries for cars, heat pumps and solar panels.

The announcement is part of the bloc’s efforts to both increase production and the uptake of green technologies.

The move forms part of the EU’s mission to achieve net zero gas emissions by 2050 but just as importantly to help the bloc compete with the growing competition that’s coming from Chinese car, solar panel and other green tech factories.

As part of the investment, the Swedish battery producer Northvolt will receive €902m in state aid for a new factory in Heide in Germany. In addition, a range of clean tech factories in France are set to receive €2.5bn in state aid which will support the production of batteries, solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps, along with key component and critical raw material supply chains.

Similar schemes in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Spain are said to be worth €9.1bn.

The announcement highlights the importance the EU attaches to achieving its goals in terms of clean mobility, sustainability, and competitiveness.

The support for Northvolt’s gigafactory is the first state aid that’s been approved under a new scheme devised to stop production facilities being lured overseas by huge foreign subsidies.

The move comes as Europe comes under increased competition from China – for example BYD, the Chinese conglomerate, is to build a new factory in Hungary and is now the world’s leading producer of EVs.

Other Chinese companies looking to enter the EU include the power battery company Eve Energy which started construction of its gigafactory in Hungary last year.