Germany has asked the European Commission to approve plans for a first large European battery cell production plant that is part of a €1bn subsidy scheme to build up an own battery manufacturing sector to support the electrification of transport and storage of renewable energy.
“Today it becomes clear what wasn’t certain yet a year ago. Germany and Europe will develop and produce competitive, innovative and environmentally sound battery cells themselves,” German energy minister Peter Altmaier said.
“For our competitiveness and future jobs in Germany and Europe that is of great significance.”
A paper produced by Germany’s economics and energy ministry late last year predicted that global demand for batteries will rise tenfold by 2030, and stipulated a target to supply 30% of the world’s need for battery cells with production from Germany or Europe by 2030.
Currently, most of the world’s battery cells and batteries come from manufacturing in Asia.
German carmakers such as VW or Daimler - which recently have been stepping up their developments of electric vehicles in a race against Asian and US manufacturers - have been at the forefront of efforts to bring battery production to Europe.
Germany’s economics and energy ministry said six other EU member states are participating in the battery cell project, which needs to obtain the approval of the EC in a notification process to make sure it is in accordance with EU state aid rules.
The ministry currently is in talks with the EC about two large battery cell facilities to be realised under the ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI) scheme.
The push for more battery cell manufacturing capacity in Europe comes as Germany is trying to come to a more comprehensive approach to its energy transition as part of a climate package that aims at pushing the transition also towards transport, heating and industry.
At the same time, though, Berlin’s strategy seems incoherent, all the sudden favouring solar and offshore wind over onshore.