Heavy industry decarbonisation plans get funding boost

An industrial partnership in Wales which aims to create a net zero industrial zone spanning from Pembrokeshire to the English border by 2040, has been awarded £1.5m of government funding.

The South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC), a partnership between Welsh industry, energy suppliers, infrastructure providers, academia, legal sector, service providers and public sector organisations, will use the funding to map what is needed to support South Wales in becoming a net zero carbon region by 2050.

South Wales is the second largest industrial emitter in the UK, releasing the equivalent of 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year across industry and energy generation. 

The project, led by consultancy CR Plus, started in February 2021 and will last for 26 months. 

In March the project was granted phase two funding of nearly £20m as part of the government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge

It is hoped the investment will boost the competitiveness of key industrial regions and drive inward investment, creating and protecting jobs for a low-carbon global economy with growing low-carbon export markets.

According to CR Plus, the “heart” of the project is aimed at achieving net zero and at the same time, reversing the decline of heavy industry and creating economic prosperity for Wales. 

The firm hopes to achieve this by developing a plan to preserve the existing 113,000 manufacturing jobs and potentially creating thousands of new skilled jobs by 2050. 

While this plan is dynamic and wide-reaching, the SWIC is appreciative that there is no “silver bullet” for the decarbonisation of industry. SWIC will present numerous decarbonisation pathways to help ensure the wellbeing of future generations.

These will include the use and production of a hydrogen supply, carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) and CO2 shipping from South Wales which would be the first CO2 shipping industry in the whole of the UK, and would create an entire new industry for the region.

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