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$28m battery factory proposed for Tomago

Energy Renaissance will build a $28 million battery manufacturing facility on the NSW central coast, paving the way for the company to become Australia’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturer.

Cadenza Innovation, a New England-based developer of safe and low-cost lithium-ion battery technology has a 20 per cent stake in Energy Renaissance and last year inked a licensing agreement with the manufacturer that will lead to Cadenza cell batteries optimised for a hot climate being produced in Australia under licence.

Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote committed to opening the factory by 2021 at a soil-turning ceremony with Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes today at the proposed site in Tomago.

Mr Chilcote said Energy Renaissance chose the site because it’s close to the Newcastle deepwater port, a skilled workforce, the CSIRO’s research and design hub and the University of Newcastle.

“The Hunter region has all the right skills, natural resources, expertise and an abundance in solar energy for us to develop a successful battery manufacturing business in Australia,” he said.

The firm expects that more than half of the batteries produced at the site will be exported through the Port of Newcastle.

Once up and running, the firm plans to produce 66MWh of batteries per year for consumers, including schools, hospitals and homes.

Mr Chilcote said Energy Renaissance has plans to boost production to manufacture 5.3GWh of energy storage per year if it can secure additional investment of more than $200 million.

All the raw materials needed to make the batteries, such as copper, aluminum, nickel and lithium, are mined in Australia, but the factory will need to import the materials until Australia develops mineral refining facilities.

Mr Chilcote hopes setting up the factory will bolster the business cases of proposed facilities via pledging to enter into long term contracts.

Senator Hughes endorsed the new factory, saying it “will make clean and affordable energy more accessible and create greater energy security for Australia and our neighbouring countries”.

Source: Financial Review