The biggest energy cluster in the Nordic countries offers both the vision and a proven ecosystem for the project.
The City of Vaasa, on the Western coast of Finland, has announced it is preparing a proposal for the Tesla Gigafactory. Tesla Motor’s first Gigafactory producing lithium-ion batteries opened in Nevada, USA in July 2016. This factory will ultimately also build Tesla electric vehicles. Three weeks ago Tesla announced their intention to build their next Gigafactory in Europe.
The advantage of Vaasa as a location is that it is the most important energy technology centre in the Nordic countries. Kaustinen, which lies nearby, has the biggest lithium deposits in Europe. Lithium carbonate is the key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries. This combination of knowledge of energy technology and supply of the raw materials for battery production is unique in the world.
The Vaasa energy cluster is already world class: out of the 140 companies in the region, many are global market leaders within their fields. Their combined turnover is €4.4 billion. By itself, the cluster accounts for almost a third of Finland’s technology exports. The Vaasa energy cluster shares a mutual vision with Tesla Motors - to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
“Vaasa has the perfect qualifications to work as Tesla’s partner, and to be the optimal location of the Gigafactory in Europe”, says the Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry. “We need visionary and ambitious goals that motivate all who can make a contribution. This is a project that builds Vaasa’s future for several generations to come,” Häyry continues.
The upcoming Minister of Economic Affairs supports a Gigafactory in Vaasa
The upcoming minister of Economic Affairs, Member of Parliament, Mika Lintilä, supports the project in Vaasa. He says that it shows just the kind of courage and entrepreneurship that is needed more widely in Finland at the moment. “This is a good opportunity for the whole of Finland; I am very excited about this vision and will support the project as much as possible”, says Lintilä.
To support the Gigafactory project, Vaasa is gathering a coalition of recognised experts from core engineering disciplines, plus logistics, economics, project leadership as well as international communications. The first assessment, a more specific process and plan description, will be published during the first quarter of 2017. “We will begin work immediately; apart from being a project for Vaasa and the Vaasa region, it is also a project for the whole of Finland,” says Häyry.
The first Tesla Gigafactory is one of the biggest structures in the world. When complete, its size will be close to one million square metres. The annual capacity of battery production at the factory is 35 gigawatt hours (one GWh equals one million kWh). The construction cost of the factory is $5 billion, and the long-term benefits for Nevada State have been calculated at $100 billion. Comparable factories are also planned by other automotive manufacturers.
- Tomas Häyry, Mayor of Vaasa, phone +358 (0)40 540 5412. Call back requests to assistant Ulla Huhmarsalo, phone +358 (0)6 325 1022.
- Mika Lintilä, MP, minister of Economic Affairs (from 1.1.2017 onwards), phone +358 (0)50 511 3080
- An impression of the Vaasa Gigafactory site can be downloaded at www.gigafactory.fi/press