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Britishvolt site acquired by Blackstone for £110 million, set at House Data Center

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The UK government will invest £100m in Britishvolt as the car battery manufacturing startup seeks to build Britain’s first large-scale “gigafactory” in the north-east of England.

The former site of Britishvolt, a failed battery startup in the north-east of England, has been acquired by US private equity firm Blackstone Group for £110 million.

Blackstone plans to transform the 95-hectare site near Cambois, Northumberland, into one of Europe’s largest data centres, utilizing connectivity to renewable energy sources.

Britishvolt was initially announced in 2019 for its ambition to produce batteries for electric vehicles, but received significant government support and promised thousands of jobs. However, the company went bankrupt in early 2023, leaving the vision unfulfilled.

The acquisition by Blackstone marks a significant shift in the site’s trajectory. Previously home to Blyth power station, the site will now house a state-of-the-art data center complex, meeting the escalating demand for digital content and cloud internet services among households and businesses.

While the deal secures the future of a substantial brownfield site and uses local renewable energy sources, it also marks the end of hopes for significant job creation in the region. The municipal council’s ambition to set up a gigafactory and create thousands of jobs is no longer feasible.

Britishvolt’s demise stemmed from financial problems, despite securing substantial investment from leading entities. The company’s focus on developing its own battery technology and its inability to secure necessary orders hampered its progress, ultimately leading to its collapse.

Bob Maxwell of Begbies Traynor Group, the trustees who oversaw the sale, expressed optimism about the future of the site under Blackstone ownership. He highlighted the site’s potential to catalyze a technology industry cluster in the Northeast, boosting economic growth and employment in the region.