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Humber’s new energy strategy eyes up £6b investment with a 20,000-strong workforce

A new energy strategy for the Humber is set to exploit further the benefits brought by the estuary as more than £6 billion of investment is eyed up by 2032.

The work developed by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and stakeholders will see a push to deliver cleaner and more diversified energy sources throughout the region, building on the industrial-scale clean energy generation being pioneered in the region.

Targeted and bespoke solutions have been developed to suit the mix of urban and rural community requirements – with the potential to create or secure 20,000 jobs and take more than nine million tonnes of CO2 out of the region – a 72 per cent reduction on 2017.

A number of ‘model’ projects range from the large-scale – such as carbon capture usage and storage to wind and hydrogen power – through to smaller-scale community-level projects which could help the region meet its carbon neutral target of 2040.

They include utilising brownfield sites for solar panels in towns and cities; improving the energy efficiency of schools and public buildings across the area; and helping to decarbonise off-grid rural homes by providing them with innovative heating pumps, or providing connection to the grid where possible.

The Humber region currently has the highest carbon emissions of any UK industrial cluster

Another measure involves developing ‘district heating’ for community benefit, by using waste heat from the Humber’s many energy-intensive industries to heat the region’s homes.

Homes being built across the area in the future could also be part of ‘smart networks’ designed to best utilise and save energy throughout housing developments.

Lord Haskins, chair of the Humber LEP, said: “This ambitious new strategy will see the Humber adapting a clean energy strategy from the ground up – whether that’s individual homeowners bringing in new technology such as heat pumps, to housing developers creating smart energy networks, or schools and colleges using solar panels on their sites.

“We are already known as the Energy Estuary and we are a leader in large-scale renewable energy, but our Energy Strategy shows that even down to a very localised – or even individual level – change is possible.  This strategy will be an important part of the Humber’s transition towards a net zero carbon economy, and will support the creation of new opportunities from clean growth in the region.”

Carl Ennis, chief executive of Siemens GB&I and Lord Haskins, chair of Humber LEP.
Carl Ennis, chief executive of Siemens GB&I and Lord Haskins, chair of Humber LEP.
(Image: Humber LEP)

It comes just days after a huge green hydrogen project was publicly unveiled involving both Phillips 66 and Orsted, as the latter sits between commissioning completion and offshore installation on successive world-leading wind farms in Hornsea One and Hornsea Two.

The development of the strategy was supported by Siemens, which tested the viability of the 13 projects – with an action plan in place for each project with target dates, estimated costs and projected job creation.

Carl Ennis, chief executive of Siemens GB&I, said: “As one of the heaviest carbon emitters in the UK, through adoption of these strategies, Humber can make a critical and vital impact in reducing its environmental impact and helping reach net zero.

“This work will place it as a leader in innovation for low carbon technologies, as well as allowing new industries to form in the region. This work is crucial on a national scale and will need to be replicated across the UK, with the support of the Government and Local Authorities, if we are to reach net zero by 2050.”

The projects are:

  • Solar farm development on brownfield and industrial sites
  • Securing local benefit from offshore wind
  • The Humber Low Carbon Innovation Zone
  • Developing district heating for community benefit
  • Build-out large scale zero and ultra-low emission vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Compressed natural gas for public buses, refuse collection vehicles and HGVs
  • Bio-fuel innovation
  • Planning for smart energy in new housing developments
  • Energy efficiency in the public sector estate
  • Decarbonising business across the Humber
  • Decarbonise off gas grid homes
  • Develop a hydrogen economy in the Humber
  • Move to net-zero emissions with CCUS
Offshore wind farms and the known pipeline to be operated and maintained from Grimsby.

The LEP is seeking to work with parish councils and community groups in rural areas on community energy projects, with grant funding available now.

In its budget submission last week, the LEP called on the Government to devolve part of its forthcoming domestic energy efficiency fund to the Humber. The LEP argues that delivering this locally will help to expand the local low carbon supply chain and create sustainable jobs.

The LEP has partnered with Catch on a bid for funding to develop a roadmap for decarbonising the Humber industrial cluster, which will consider new opportunities for hydrogen production.

Hull City Council has led a bid on behalf of the LEP for a programme of energy efficiency support for SMEs across the region.  A Government decision is expected shortly.

The University of Hull has led a £35 million bid to the Strength in Places Fund, which would support the delivery of several pilot projects aligned to the strategy.

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