In an open letter to Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng prior to his speech at the Waterline Summit, the Zero Carbon Humber Partnership have called on the Government to back their major funding bid and provided compelling evidence of the strength and breadth of regional, national and international support for their ground-breaking project.
The letter is accompanied by forty-five formal letters of support from non-partner organisations who recognise the proposals’ unique offering and unrivalled benefits for the environment and the economy. These supporters include international trade bodies; business and investment groups; local authorities and LEPs; equality and diversity organisations; trade associations; academic institutions; training providers; and supply chain networks.
The open letter, signed by the twelve-partner coalition, which boasts major names such as Equinor, Drax, National Grid, SSE and British Steel, states that they “believe this illustrates the unified strength of Zero Carbon Humber Partnership’s ISCF bid” to make the Humber the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040.
Amongst those providing letters of support are:
– Several international bodies such as the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute; the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce; and the European Alternative & Renewable Transport Fuels Forum; – National and regional organisations such as the Energy Institute; Women into Manufacturing and Engineering; the Northern Powerhouse Partnership; the NP11; the GMB Union; the CBI; Make UK; Offshore Renewable Catapult; the Federation for Small Business; the Humber Chamber of Commerce; CATCH; and Marketing Humber;- Educational, skills and training institutions including Women into Manufacturing & Engineering; Aura Innovation Centre; Hull University; Leeds University; Sheffield University; Grimsby Institute; DN Colleges Group; and Bishop Burton College;
– Three regional LEPs – Humber LEP; Greater Lincolnshire LEP; and York & North Yorkshire LEP;
– The four Humber councils – Hull City Council; East Riding of Yorkshire Council; North East Lincolnshire Council; and North Lincolnshire Council;
– Several other major national and international businesses including Siemens Energy, Engie, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Premier Oil; and Penspen.
Among the contributors, the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce commented that “this Partnership stands out as a beacon of how businesses take on their social and environmental responsibility”; the Global Carbon Capture & Storage Institute added that it was “promising to see ambitious climate efforts being mirrored by UK industry leaders”; and the UK’s Energy Institute noted that the project “offers a great opportunity for industry to collaborate to advance towards 2050 targets, preserve and create jobs, and rebalance the economy”.
Also within the letter submissions, and referencing the need for a ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy, Louise Smith, Director of Aura Innovation Centre wrote:
“CCUS and hydrogen have a central role to play in creating a resilient, inclusive and innovation driven regional economy that delivers clean growth for the Humber. With a third of the Humber’s economy based on high carbon jobs, an inclusive transition to low carbon is critical to the place and its people … The technologies developed on the back of a successful bid in the Humber will protect the region against flooding and lead the world in the fight against climate change.”
Noting the opportunity for this project to stimulate post-covid growth in the North, Beckie Hart, Yorkshire & Humber Regional Director at the Confederation of British Industry stated:
“At a time when economic considerations are higher up the agenda than ever, the potential for the Zero Carbon Humber Partnership to secure existing industries whilst also bringing new jobs, skills, growth and investment to the region is a considerable benefit for generations to come. Business and government share the priority to build back greener, and better from the pandemic, and support for the Zero Carbon Humber Partnership would deliver investment at this crucial juncture, both for our economic recovery, and pathway to net-zero emissions.”
In relation to the prospect of underpinning a future hydrogen economy in the Humber, Peter O’Sullivan, CEO of international engineering firm Penspen said:
“Zero Carbon Humber is an important first step [in establishing a viable hydrogen economy] and will decarbonise the UK’s largest industrial region. It is well positioned to do so because it builds on existing skills and infrastructure – it has existing sources of hydrogen production from the refineries in the region, it has a well-established skill-base and it is close to reservoirs in the Southern North Sea which will play an important role in both scaling up hydrogen production and providing CO2 storage.”
Earlier this month, the twelve-organisation partnership submitted a bid to phase two of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for a carbon capture, hydrogen and infrastructure project worth £75m. If successful the bid would unlock a potentially multi-billion pound project which could transform the region whilst also reducing the UK’s annual emissions by 15%.
The accompanying letter to Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, who has visited Humber energy projects on a number of occasions, outlines the case for the project, its potential to help the UK meet its international legally binding climate targets, and its ability to future-proof existing industry whilst creating additional jobs. A decision is expected in early 2021.
Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to address the Humber’s Waterline Summit later today (23 October 2020), wrapping up a week of fascinating discussion and debate around energy, clean growth and tackling climate change in the region.