Net Zero Industry Wales (NZIW) has this week announced a total injection of £1.1 million to develop a new masterplan for decarbonising the North East Wales industrial region.
The project will kick-start in 2024 with thanks to £711k in newly awarded funding from Innovate UK which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) — supporting an existing investment of £389k through industry in the region.
The UKRI funding has been awarded under the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) Local Industrial Decarbonisation plan (LIDP) competition — which supports the development of decarbonisation plans for local industrial clusters.
To be developed by NZIW in conjunction with several regional partners — including Wales & West Utilities, Bangor University, Uniper, Net Zero Energy Systems and SP Energy Networks — the North East Wales Industrial Decarbonisation (NEW-ID) plan will see the formation of an official regional Industrial cluster, which in turn, will provide a baseline for accelerating North East Wales’ response to the climate emergency.
The cluster, which incorporates the Deeside and Wrexham Clean Growth Hubs, has been shown to contribute approximately 2 million tonnes of industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards Wales’ carbon footprint.
To tackle this, the partners will begin the project by identifying required industrial decarbonisation measures in the cluster — before shaping a comprehensive delivery plan for significant GHG reductions by 2030 and full decarbonisation by 2050.
The plan will set out the steps needed for strong management of the cluster, which will enable pathways for increasing collaboration between local organisations; strengthen decarbonisation planning skills; and develop organisational structures within the Deeside and Wrexham Clean Growth Hubs.
It will support work already being executed within the Clean Growth Hubs — taking learnings from the development of electricity infrastructure operated by SP Energy Networks and the potential for repurposed and new hydrogen infrastructure developed by Wales & West Utilities.
Plus, it will build on the work of the Deeside Decarbonisation Forum (DDF)* and the Wrexham Achieving Carbon Zero group, while taking learnings from other project participants.
For example, Net Zero North West and the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC) project — which have both adapted decarbonisation methodologies to suit the net zero journeys of the North West and South Wales.
NEW-ID will also align with the hydrogen, carbon capture and storage infrastructure being developed by the HyNet North West project as part of the adjacent Net Zero North West Cluster; and will consider the Local Area Energy Plans of Flintshire County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council — to produce a cohesive, one-track vision for achieving a greener North East Wales.
The project has received significant interest from the local industrial community, with organisations — from across a wide range of sectors, including aerospace, automotives, pharmaceuticals and food and drink — lined up for collaboration on the NEW-ID project.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “I created Net Zero Industry Wales (NZIW) as an independent body to help Welsh industries on the delivery of net zero — by providing support and unlocking investment opportunities and funding.
“The Welsh Government’s Economic Mission recognises the importance of green prosperity. We support the decarbonisation of Welsh industry and realise the enormous net zero opportunities across our natural environment to become a world-leader in low-carbon manufacturing, which will support business growth.
“I am therefore delighted about NZIW’s successful bid to receive funding for the North East Wales Industrial Decarbonisation plan. It showcases a truly great example of the benefits that strong regional collaboration can have on tackling the climate emergency. I’m excited to see the impact the plan will have on the wider ambitions of Net Zero Wales which aims to make Wales net zero by 2050.”
Ben Burggraaf, CEO of Net Zero Industry Wales said: “Today’s funding announcement is a welcome step in the right direction for Welsh Industry’s journey to net zero. It will allow the region to continue to thrive at the industrial forefront of the UK, aided by the uptake of low carbon technologies — all while opening up a range of skills and employment opportunities.
“We look forward to supporting the NEW-ID Plan which in turn, will support us in our mission to empower businesses to build greener futures. What’s more, we are confident that learnings from other live projects — such as the great work being delivered by SWIC, DDF and Net Zero North West — will allow us to maximise the Plan’s potential.”
Bryony Livesey, Challenge Director — Industrial Decarbonisation at Innovate UK, said: “Today’s announcement shows the keenness of businesses to collaborate on plans to decarbonise by forming local industrial clusters and working together to drive down emissions. This is a crucial step in tackling decarbonisation at dispersed sites on the UK’s journey towards net zero by 2050.”
A spokesperson for the NEW-ID cluster, said “The NEW-ID Plan will bolster Wales’ net zero aspirations by fostering a cohesive, streamlined approach to decarbonisation in North East Wales. The plan will enable regional industry to determine its decarbonisation options and in doing so, support the development of a clean growth strategy — providing a sustainable industrial base for future generations.”