Britishvolt: Dreams of Revolutionising Battery Industry Shattered by Collapse

0
62

The battery startup Britishvolt, once hailed as the ‘crown jewel’ of the government’s levelling up policy in the north-east of England, has sadly collapsed into administration, with the majority of its 300 staff made immediately redundant.

Accountancy firm EY was appointed to assess the company’s assets, including its intellectual property and research, but ultimately it was unable to secure the £3.8bn “gigafactory” project in Blyth, Northumberland, and talks to secure a rescue bid from several investors have failed.

Britishvolt had requested £30m in advance from a government-promised £100m, but this was denied as the company had not met the necessary milestones. This was followed by two further requests, for £11.5m and then just £3m, raising serious concerns about the financial stability of the project. However, the company was able to avoid entering administration in October after receiving a last-minute injection of £5m from the FTSE 100 mining company Glencore, which was already an investor.

Ian Lavery, the Labour MP for Wansbeck, said the news was “deeply concerning” and highlighted the need for investment in green and sustainable projects, saying: “We must now look at ways to ensure that similar projects can succeed in the future and that the government is doing everything it can to help them.” The company had planned to build the 30 gigawatt hours gigafactory in phases, manufacturing enough battery cells a year for more than 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs. These could have played a significant role in supporting the UK’s energy transition, but with the project now defunct, it appears that this potential has been wasted. Ultimately, EY will now be tasked with winding down the company’s affairs and paying its creditors, but it remains to be seen what the future holds for Britishvolt, its staff and the local economy.

It is a sad end for a project that had the potential to revolutionise the battery industry in the UK, but it serves as a reminder of the fragility of the green energy sector and the need for the right investment to make these projects a success.