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$28 million site near Newcastle will build batteries

Construction of Australia’s first lithium-ion battery production facility has begun near Newcastle, with commercial vehicle power packs due to go into production by July.

The 4000 square metre site – run by start-up Energy Renaissance – will produce batteries tailored to Australian weather conditions, with a focus on commercial vehicles and buses.

Development costs will total approximately $28 million, and the facility will employ “up to” 100 people, according to a spokesperson for the project.

Annual battery output will initially sit at approximately 48 megawatt hours, before increasing to 180 megawatt hours by 2022.

Jens Goennemann – managing director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, which has invested in the site – said: “Energy Renaissance’s announcement of on-shore, Lithium-ion battery manufacturing is exactly what we need more of in Australia.”

“By building local manufacturing capability and adding value to domestic commodities, [Australia] will be able to supply critical componentry to local and global automotive [vehicle manufacturers].”

Mr Goennemann said Australia has “an opportunity to lead the world when it comes to energy transition, while adding value to our abundant natural resources.”

He said the company’s hot-climate battery technology “has numerous applications across … energy, defence, commercial and industrial – both domestically and abroad.”

The site has a theoretical maximum output of 5.3 gigawatt hours per annum, however a spokesperson for Energy Renaissance said expansion beyond 2022 would be driven by market demand.

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