A collaboration of businesses has been formed to plough investment into the net zero economy and create 33,000 new jobs in the North West of England.
The move forms part of a post Covid-19 green recovery and focuses on the North West as it is the best-placed region to deliver a low carbon industrial cluster by 2030. The cluster could save more than 10 million tonnes of carbon per year - more than the annual carbon emissions of all homes in the North West.
The collaboration, called Net Zero North West, is made up of Siemens, Tata Chemicals Europe, Storengy, Peel L&P Environmental, Encirc, CF Fertilisers, Essar Oil UK, INOVYN and the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT).
The North West produces 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year and still has the highest concentration of manufacturing and chemical production in the UK. It is the only region with all the elements required to deliver the low carbon industrial cluster, which includes renewables, carbon capture usage and storage, hydrogen, smart grids and nuclear.
The UK has a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2020 and not only would the collaboration help contribute to meeting the target, it would attract more than £4bn investment and create at least 33,000 new jobs while safeguarding existing jobs.
Net Zero North West is creating a roadmap for how the region will decarbonise industry, protect jobs and will identify a vision for long-term, sustainable investments in net zero. The organisation recently submitted a bid to the Government for a share of £8m funding following a successful bid for phase one of the roadmap.
Carl Ennis, chairman, Net Zero North West and CEO Siemens GB said: “Decarbonising the economy in the North West is critical to the success of the UK achieving its net zero target.
“We were the cradle of the first industrial revolution and The North West has the ingenuity, the skills and the passion to deliver on this vital transformation at the scale and speed needed to succeed. This is not a technology challenge but a policy one and it’s time now for Government, national and local, to make good on their policies to lead on decarbonisation.
“With the support of regional leaders, academia and business, Net Zero North West is providing a strong voice and holistic vision for industrial decarbonisation in the North West.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “I want Greater Manchester to be the best place in the world to grow up, get on and grow old in a clean, green and vibrant city-region. Cities, and city-regions, will make the difference on climate change.
“Doing things differently doesn’t just mean a new set of policies – it means a new approach to managing energy altogether and, in working to decarbonise in the North West, we can create a blueprint for the world. It wouldn’t be the first time. We can change ourselves, and we can inspire change in others.”
Hydrogen and carbon capture project HyNet, based in the North West, plans to capture industrial carbon which it will store in depleted gas reservoirs in the Irish sea alongside hydrogen production, distribution and storage.
Other projects include the multi-billion pound scheme Mersey Tidal, launched to harness the power of the Liverpool Bay to provide renewable energy and E-Port, a £500m smart energy grid around the industrial heartland of Ellesmere Port.
The region is already capturing carbon with Tata Chemicals Europe due to complete construction of the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) project at its Northwich industrial site. The plant will capture 40,000 tonnes of food-grade carbon dioxide for use as a raw material to manufacture baking soda, reducing carbon emissions by more than 10 per cent.
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