As the UK responds to the global climate emergency, industrial clusters must take urgent action to decarbonise whilst retaining a strong industrial economy, Chris Manson-Whitton, of HyNet North West, writes.
HyNet will unlock a low carbon future for the North West and North Wales, creating routes for manufacturing industry to decarbonise production. Vehicles, such as trains and lorries, will use clean fuel and gas networks will blend hydrogen in to the gas supply to heat homes with low carbon fuel, without the need for new appliances. HyNet will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 10 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2030, equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Locally, HyNet will improve air quality and place the region at the forefront of clean energy innovation, creating green growth and attracting further inward investment. The use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and clean hydrogen power will pave the way for net zero and lead the UK in the fight against climate change.
HyNet has the potential to decarbonise one of the UK’s largest clusters of industrial sites. Similar to other regions with a strong industrial base, the North West and North Wales will face challenges in meeting the 2050 net-zero target as operating costs rise in line with the carbon price. Like other industrial heartlands across the UK, HyNet presents an ideal location to grow the UK’s hydrogen economy. Deployment of the project will boost local industries, helping secure their future and supporting them to remain viable for the future by reducing, and eventually halting, carbon emissions, keeping the region as an attractive place for industry to operate, invest and thrive. This is vital as the UK seeks to level-up through green growth.
As a result of their rich industrial heritage, regions with industrial clusters have large numbers of people employed in manufacturing. The North West has the most manufacturing jobs of any UK region, employing 345,000 people in 2019. It is a hotspot of skills and experience alongside fit-for-purpose infrastructure and cutting-edge science. HyNet will protect these existing high skilled manufacturing jobs and create thousands more new exciting and long-term opportunities for local people to develop new skillsets and train to work in exciting, world-leading sectors. This includes the creation of a further 6,000 permanent jobs in manufacturing and the supply chain plus thousands more in construction.
With its game-changing approach, HyNet will help establish the UK as a leader for clean industrial innovation. The project is paving the way, spearheading the progression of a new, innovative sector for the UK. As a forerunner in creating a low carbon industrial cluster, the project is committed to sharing learnings. Nationally, HyNet will help to deliver 75,000 jobs by 2035 through a hydrogen economy, and unlock over £31 billion in Gross Value Added. You can find out more in ENA recent Innovation Impacts report here.
Notes to editor
Gas Goes Green #H2Explainers are a series of blogs setting all the key information you need to know about how Britain’s gas networks are working to deliver hydrogen to our homes, as part of our 'Tomorrow's Heat, Today's Opportunity' campaign. Check out the ENA Newsroom to find other articles and updates from both gas and electricity network companies.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
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Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.