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KIEL (dpa-AFX) – The Schleswig-Holstein state parliament has clearly committed to the planned construction of a battery cell factory for electric cars on the west coast. On Thursday, the MPs voted unanimously for the best possible support for the plans of the Swedish Northvolt group at the Heide site. However, different positions became clear when it came to the question of what kind of support is actually needed.
Economics Minister Claus Ruhe Madsen (non-party) was confident. “There are no ifs and buts for us: we really want it.” Nevertheless, he was not able to answer the question of whether he was expecting a settlement with a yes or no. “People still stand by Heide when it comes to settling in Europe.” The state government will make every effort to complete the construction. “People will look at us with envy all over Germany – if not even in Europe – if we manage to get this settlement done.”
Nevertheless, the situation is different from a year ago, said Madsen, referring to increases in construction costs and significantly higher energy costs. He will meet Northvolt boss Peter Carlsson on Thursday. Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) will speak to Carlsson about the project on Friday. He had recently signaled that the Heide factory could be delayed. He cited the high local electricity prices and higher subsidies in the USA as reasons. The company could therefore settle there first.
Opposition leader Thomas Losse-Müller (SPD) spoke of a promise that climate protection could really create modern jobs. “The signal must be that we are ready to further develop this location.” He accused the state government of having promised too much after the company’s non-binding declaration of intent. Even a later settlement therefore means a failure of the government.
CDU faction leader Tobias Koch gave the project full political support. “We want to make Schleswig-Holstein the first climate-neutral industrial state.” Against the background of high electricity prices, he proposed a cheaper price for wind power for industry, which would otherwise be curtailed.
Like the Union, the Greens MP Ulrike Täck called for a reform of network charges and spoke of the crux of relatively high electricity prices in the north, “although we produce the electricity ourselves”. The SSW MP Sybilla Nitsch spoke out in favor of several electricity price zones in Germany. “It cannot be that the electricity in Schleswig-Holstein is the most expensive electricity, although we produce the cheapest electricity here.”
Former Economics Minister Bernd Buchholz (FDP) accused the state government of shifting responsibility. The high network charges were already known when the declaration of intent was signed. “Do you know what that looks like? As if you are preparing the buck here.” For Madsen’s predecessor, it is clear that electricity prices are not a possible stopper for the project, but rather higher subsidies in the USA. But there shouldn’t be a subsidy race.
In March, Northvolt announced plans to build a large battery plant in Heide. The well-developed expansion of wind energy on the west coast was mentioned as an important locational advantage. An investment volume of up to 4.5 billion euros was under discussion. So far, however, there has only been a declaration of intent with the state government in Kiel. Up to 3000 direct jobs beckon in the once structurally weak region. The country promises more jobs through the settlement of suppliers. Northvolt is an important partner of Volkswagen (Volkswagen (VW) vz) on the way to electromobility./akl/DP/men
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