A plan to transform the north west into one of the world’s first low-carbon industrial sites is set to see Cheshire become a world leader in low carbon innovation.
On October 14, CheshireLive reported that the owner of Stanlow Refinery unveiled plans for two hydrogen production plants that could attract £750 million of investment to the area as part of the transition to a greener economy.
The project aims to turn the Ellesmere Port Industrial Area into a centre for the UK’s green industrial revolution and was described as a ‘central pillar’ of the HyNet North West initiative, which could bring almost 11,000 jobs and £1.8billion of investment to the region.
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Now the plan to make the north west one of the world’s first low-carbon industrial clusters could receive huge funding following being named a forerunner in a Government scheme, BusinessLive reports.
The Government’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) scheme have no awarded the project with ‘track one’ status and the next stage will involve negotiations with viability checks before pulling in support from a £1bn fund.
HyNet would aim to cut emissions quicker than other industry clusters across the country – reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 10m tonnes every year by 2030, which is the equivalent of taking 4m cars off the road.
The project would also be able to deliver 80% of the UK’s clean hydrogen target for transport, industry and homes for 2030 and 50% of the hydrogen needed to meet the UK’s 2050 net zero target.
Energy Minister, Greg Hands, made the announcement today (October 19) and East Coast Cluster is the only other project to have been selected.
“This project is so important in terms of reducing carbon emissions and protecting industrial jobs so it is fantastic that the green light has been given.”
The HyNet scheme is hoped to supply clean hydrogen and store carbon dioxide, helping businesses across the region cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs, and launch green products.
Project leaders estimate HyNet would also catalyse job growth across the north west and North Wales, with the potential to deliver a £17bn economic impact locally, protecting more than 340,000 manufacturing jobs in the region, and helping to create 6,000 low carbon roles.
The north west industrial cluster region stretches from Flintshire and Wrexham, through Cheshire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester into Lancashire.
It boasts the largest concentration of advanced manufacturing and chemical production in the UK and is home to a concentration of energy intensive users. The HyNet North West hydrogen and carbon capture and storage project is being developed by partners including Progressive Energy, Cadent and Essar.
Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale, has has also voiced his backing for the scheme.
He said: “This project accelerates the transition towards a carbon zero economy as we tackle the climate crisis and will help retain existing employment and create thousands of new jobs for people across the region.
“The long-term vision is to produce green hydrogen by splitting water through electrolysis with no carbon dioxide and only oxygen produced, which can be vented to the atmosphere with no negative impact.”
Clare Hayward, chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “We are absolutely delighted by today’s announcement that HyNet North West low carbon and energy project will be one of the first two to be delivered in the UK.
“We have ambitious targets to reach net zero and make Cheshire and Warrington a world leader in low carbon technologies and innovation and this is a huge step forward for the decarbonisation of our region.
“The north west and North Wales is a region which has the largest number of people employed in manufacturing in the UK and has the skills base to drive the hydrogen economy and help us to create the green jobs for the future.
“HyNet is a result of a great partnership with all of the stakeholders involved from across the region. We look forward to working together to put our ambitions into action.”