UK’s energy capital announces multi-billion pound low carbon plan

The major private and public sector players at Britain’s biggest energy port and waterway have announced a collaboration that will work towards the UK’s energy ambitions and create 3,000 Welsh jobs.

The Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster, formed by a coalition between The Port of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire County Council, energy companies, green tech and renewable developers, aims to deliver a 30-year multi-billion pound investment platform for low carbon initiatives.

It will be a huge contributor to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions as well as create 3,000 Welsh jobs and new career opportunities.

Members include Blue Gem Wind, Cambrian Offshore, DP Energy, Dragon LNG, ERM, Marine Energy Wales, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Prosperity Energy, RWE, South Wales Industrial Cluster and Valero.

Announced at a Westminster launch event hosted by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, the Cluster outlined how it will play a pivotal role in delivering at least 20% of the UK’s hydrogen production and 10% of Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) targets, as part of aims to achieve long-term independence from foreign energy sources and decarbonisation in the UK Government’s recently published British Energy Security Strategy.

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This would also include the development of low carbon liquid fuels, CO2 shipping, marine renewables and energy storage through innovation.

The Milford Haven Waterway is a key national energy asset for the UK, attracting billions of pounds in investment for over 60 years and supplying 20% of the UK’s annual energy demand.

It houses two LNG terminals supplying a third of the UK’s gas, one of Europe’s largest oil refineries (supplying over 14% of UK transport fuel) and a Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine plant (one of Europe’s largest and most efficient, powering around 4 million homes).

However, investment in Celtic Sea renewables is advancing dramatically with developers working on large scale floating offshore wind farms and tidal and wave technologies. The waterway is already test bedding hydrogen initiatives.

In addition to accelerating the transition to low carbon, the Cluster would also stimulate substantial economic growth.

Early economic analysis undertaken for the Cluster by Cardiff Business School showed the plan could create 3,000 Welsh jobs in addition to the 5,000 already supported by the Milford Haven Waterway energy sector.

Cluster members called on the UK and Welsh Governments, National Grid, The Crown Estate and OFGEM to support its aims by:

  • Expanding South Wales’ Grid capacity by 10GW by 2030
  • Implementing a fast-tracked consenting regime
  • Backing a South Wales green freeport bid
  • Introducing mechanisms to de-risk the Celtic Sea FLOW opportunity
  • Backing a South Wales FLOW infrastructure bid
  • Supporting the Milford Haven Waterway SuperPlace ambition, including both the blue and green hydrogen
  • Supporting prioritisation of South Wales in National Grid’s Project Union
  • Supporting a BEIS Cluster Sequencing Track 2 bid
  • Incentivising the production and use of low carbon fuels
  • Backing Skills Accelerator and Supply Chain Accelerator programmes

Greg Hands MP, Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, said: “From floating offshore wind to hydrogen, the Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster will bring thousands of jobs and growth to South Wales. This will cement the region’s position as a leading player in delivering clean, affordable, home-grown energy for Britain.”

Tom Sawyer, chief executive at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “By the 2040’s the Milford Haven Waterway aims to be a significant exporter of low carbon electricity and hydrogen, and a globally recognised example of a low carbon, smart energy system fully capable of supporting society’s energy needs reliably, cost effectively and with significantly reduced emissions.”

He added: “We’re proud to be working collaboratively as part of the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) and the Celtic Sea Cluster (CSC). Our collective vision will not only contribute significantly to the country’s Net Zero goals, but it will create around 3,000 Welsh jobs, boost pay and productivity, create new and exciting career opportunities and improve living standards for the people living and working in our region: today and for future generations.

“We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to share our vision in Westminster and look forward to our next launch at the Senedd.”

A second event later this year will see the Cluster outline its vision at the Senedd alongside Welsh Government Ministers, Senedd Members and Welsh industry leaders.

The Welsh Government’s Net Zero Wales Strategy seeks to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, outlining plans to invest in skills for economic opportunities of decarbonisation and renewable energy technology to add 1GW of renewable energy capacity by 2025.

Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “It’s fantastic to hear the ambition for the future of the Milford Haven Waterway. The Waterway is already vital to the prosperity of south west Wales and the UK energy supply and now there’s potential to transform it into a vital player in our energy future. These plans will secure jobs, contribute to our net zero ambitions and reduce our reliance on foreign energy supplies, all of which are at the heart of the UK Government’s ambitions for the people of Wales.”

Stephen Crabb MP (Preseli Pembrokeshire), said: “It was great to welcome so many of the key players in our local energy sector to Parliament today. With its energy-rich heritage, and strategic national importance, the Port of Milford Haven is well-placed to be at the forefront of the transition to a low carbon future.

“This ambitious vision will bring a whole host of benefits both nationally, and locally, not least through the creation of high skilled green jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for the people of Pembrokeshire.”

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