– A sight worth seeing

Green steel production, datacentres, renewable energy and batteries


A delegation from Arendal municipality, Agder county, Norwegian confederation enterprise, The Norwegian confederation of trade unions, and other partners visited the Nordbotten region in northern Sweden last week.

The Nordbotten region, the city of Luelå, and the city of Skelefteå have in later years seen an unprecedented growth in business. The region is host to Northvolt, the leading battery factory in Europe, LKAB (minerals) in Kiruna, and H2 Green steel in Boden. Northern Sweden is also a popular destination for data-centres, Meta (Facebook) has for instance a datacentre located in Luleå. The region is also host to Europe’s largest landbased wind-park, markbygden in Piteå, with 750 windmills producing 12 TWH over 450 kvkm2.

The region bears much resemblance to Agder, with clean energy and green industry.

Northvolt and Skelefteå

Skelefteå, the host city of Northvolt was perhaps the highlight of the trip. The delegation visited the Northvolt site, where the battery producer has built 25% of their gigafactory. The plot is 50 football fields large and the factory will employ thousands.

​This is quite incredible, and a sight worth seeing. We think we know what is coming to Arendal, but it is much bigger than we have been imagining.

Robert Nordli

Mayor, Arendal municipality

 The delegation focused on obtaining knowledge from the region and especially Skelefteå. The delegation therefore had productive meetings with city developers Linda Fransson and Anna Mård, and with mayor Lorents Burman.

Mayor Burman gave uniqe insight into being a batteryfactory host city. Showcasing facts like an increase in housing prises have shot through the roof, some houses that in 2017 was worth 1.400.000 SEK are now worth 4.500.000. Skelefteå are planning for 15.000 new workers relocating to the town, and building 12.000 new accommodations (houses and appartments).

Skelefteå point to three issues that they recommend Arendal start working with immediately. 1) Housing, there will be a great need for accommodation in all areas, apartment complexes, apartments for rent, and houses. 2) Infrastructure, making sure all the needed infrastructure is in place to accommodate all the new businesses and people following a gigafactory. 3) Competence and recruitment. Skelefteå are now working with recruitment to secure the needed competence for the development of the city and Northvolt.

 Boden and Luelå

At neighbouring county Boden a new facility for steel is being built, and it is going to be green/zero emission through the use of green hydrogen in the production process. Here Boden municipality is also working towards industrial symbiosis, by establishing businesses that are complementing each other, for example heat produced from a datacentre can be used to warm a greenhouse. This is in line with the ideas for Eyde Material Park, and the delegation take back many new symbiosis ideas for Eyde Material Park.

The city of Luelå was also part of the delgations tour. Luleå is hosting a Meta (Facebook) datacentre, employing over 400 people. The datacentre establishment served as important process for learning how to work with large industrial establishments.

What now?

The group ended the trip with a workshop focusing on what to do with all the newly obtained knowledge. The group discussed a number of topics such as; marketing of the region for green industry, sustainability, risk and uncertainty, competence and recruitment, areas of potential conflict and infrastructure.

There was also specific decisions on recruitments projects, action plans and further co-creation to create a new green industrial adventure in Agder.