The Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, reiterated his full support for the Northvolt company on Friday, ensuring that it did not benefit from a free pass with respect to Quebec environmental rules. At the same time, the parliamentary budget officer in Ottawa let it be known that public aid to the company could take longer than expected to be profitable.
“It is false to say that Northvolt benefited from an environmental short-circuit,” underlined Pierre Fitzgibbon, during a conference on the battery sector organized by the International Relations Council of Montreal (CORIM).
The factory is “not located on SEPAQ land [Société des établissements de plein air du Québec] », wanted to reassure the minister. The location envisaged for its installation “is probably a place where fish have three eyes”, he added – visibly referring to the species of mutant fish in The simpsons.
It is false to say that Northvolt benefited from an environmental short-circuit
The land, which formerly housed the Canadian Industries Limited explosives factory, but which has been unexploited for almost 25 years, today has no less than 74 wetlands, reported however The duty earlier this week. And the majority of them are important for the conservation of biodiversity.
Time to make the aid profitable
Furthermore, in a report published Friday, the parliamentary budget officer in Ottawa indicated that it would be necessary to wait longer than expected to make the public assistance paid to Northvolt profitable.
The federal public finance watchdog estimates that the production subsidy that the company will receive – once it begins producing batteries – will be profitable in 11 years, rather than in 9 years as Quebec suggests. .
“Honestly, 9 or 11 years… I think 9 years is good. The assumptions may be different. This is a project that will be recovered in approximately 10 years. I think it is a very good project, considering that the Northvolt plant will remain in operation for more than 10 years,” underlined Minister Fitzgibbon during a press scrum which followed the CORIM conference.
More generally, the report also figures the total envelope of public aid granted to Northvolt, Volkswagen and Stellantis-LGES for the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries between 2022 and 2033.
In total, 43.6 billion dollars are granted to them by the federal government (26.9 billion), Quebec and Ontario (16.7 billion). This is an amount of $5.8 billion more than what was publicly announced ($37.7 billion) by the three governments.