Press release
2017-09-21

GigaVaasa factory area enables the start-up of large battery factory projects in summer 2018

The preparation of substantial battery factory establishments in the Vaasa region has advanced to a concrete level: for the project there is now a factory area, and the battery factory project could in reality be started already in summer 2018. The City of Vaasa, the Municipality of Korsholm and the GigaVaasa team have promoted the matter in close cooperation.

“The market situation associated with energy storage and batteries and the technological break have proceeded even faster than expected during the present year. At the same time we have done GigaVaasa work on a large scale in order to be able to offer a world-class operational environment to the enterprises of the field. We have opened direct contacts with the battery factory operators. In the Vasa region, on a European scale unique field know-how is developing. We now have the ability to receive also large investments from different parts of the world, states the Mayor of Vaasa”, Tomas Häyry.

For the building of a battery factory, a large enough site and other associated operational preconditions are essential. In the beginning of 2017, four possible locations were identified in the Vaasa region, from which the location behind the airport of Vaasa was chosen as subject for further work, amongst other things because of good logistic preconditions and timetable causes. Korsholms’s and Vaasa’s common NLC Vaasa area of about 400 hectares was already planned at the component local master plan level. In the beginning of the year the City of Vaasa also began to investigate the suitability of the NIA area of about 500-600 hectares on the east side of the airport as a large-scale industry and battery factory area.

The planning of the factory area started as soon as the GigaVaasa project was announced

The work to enable substantial GigaVaasa investments has been done continuously since December last year. A large group of representatives for municipalities and development organisations from the Vaasa region have participated, as well as consultants mainly from Helsinki and a large group of enthusiastic experts from enterprises in the ecosystem EnergyVaasa.

“Because of our fast action, we can now announce the location, extent and timetable of the GigaVaasa project. A uniform area like this, consisting of hundreds of hectares with the plan marking T/Kem suitable for battery factories, which furthermore logistically has an excellent location in the center of Finland’s battery raw-material supply, is unique in the Nordic Countries and in the whole of Europe”, states managing director Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma from Oy Vaasa Parks Ab.

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The width of the investigated area for the development of GigaVaasa’s land use is about 1000 hectares. The areas that are to be planned divides on the Korsholm side into about 200 hectares in the NLC Vaasa area’s (NLC= Nordic Logistic Center) quarters, and on the Vaasa side into an about 400-500 hectares large NIA area (New Industrial Area). Nature inventories and other investigations in relation to the plannings of both areas and processes for evaluation of environmental impact of both areas were started already in March. The planning, both in terms of the component local master plans and the local detailed plan are underway in order to be shown in both municipalities already this year.

The cooperation project between Vaasa and Korsholm led to competition advantage

“The Municipality of Korsholm began to prepare the change in the local detailed plan for the NLC Vaasa area so that it will be suitable for battery factories already in spring according to the application criteria of the battery factory operators. It was easy to act fast, since large land acquisitions has already been made in the area during about ten years’ time as a result of the NLC cooperation. Also the component local master plan that now is to be updated was ready. Otherwise we would not have been ready to offer such good areas like these in such a quick way for a battery factory. This gives a clear competition advantage to the project. The cooperation project from some years ago proved to be surprisingly far-reaching. In the preparation work for the land use we have included also incorporated areas as far as to the nearby Tuovila electric station network. We are still ready to react very fast in accordance with the customers’ needs and timetables,” the municipal manager of Korsholm, Rurik Ahlberg, states.

Within Vaasa city planning the NIA large-scale industry area was immediately brought up in the beginning of the year as one of the most important development areas within land use. The preparation work began in spring, also in cooperation with government authoritative operators, according to a so-called urgent procedure.

“The work has proceeded in all parts in accordance with the set goals and I am very pleased with the technical sector of the city and with the flexibility of other officials in this important matter. We have also been very pleased with the cooperation with the government authoritative operators in all sectors of the preparation. Therefore I would like to thank the contact persons from the Regional State Administrative Agency, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), the Rescue Services, and the Ministry of the Environment amongst others for constructive guidance and valuable advice,” planning director Päivi Korkealaakso states.

Basic facts about the GigaVaasa area:
Location
North-east of Vaasa Airport, partly in Vaasa and partly in the municipality of Korsholm, with a border in the west to the airport area, in the north-east to the railway and in the south-east to the Tuovila village   
Size of the investigated area
about 1000 hectares
Areas to be planned
in Vaasa about 500-600 hectares, in Korsholm about 300 hectares
Site sizes        
sites of different sizes, the largest 100-150 hectares
Ongoing processes and timetable goals
nature inventories and other investigations, completion in autumn 2017
security investigation, completion 10/2017
environmental impact assessment program with current state evaluation, completion 11/2017
component local master planning and local detailed planning in both municipalities, decision considerations 4-5/2018
building permit readiness 6/2018

Apart from technical readiness and governmental permits, it is important that the project can be accepted at all different levels. Also in this aspect we are moving fast forward, since the Vaasa region has stood unanimously behind the battery factory project ever since it was made public, Häyry tells.

Further information: 
Tomas Häyry, Mayor of Vaasa, phone +358 40 540 5412
Call back requests to Ulla Huhmarsalo, phone +358 6 325 1022.
Ulla Mäki-Lohiluoma, phone 040 573 3004
Picture material can be requested from Jenna Hoffren, phone 0400 282 440 , jenna.hoffren@vaasaparks.fi.