Mayor Welcomes Chancellor’s £20billion Investment in Clean Energy ‘Reset’

Business & Invest | Published on: 13th March 2023

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed an announcement that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is set to invest £20billion to “clean up” the UK’s domestic energy supply and secure energy security.

At next Wednesday’s Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will set out the investment into domestic carbon capture and low carbon energy. The move will see £20billion invested over the next 20 years to drive forward projects that aim to store 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030 – equivalent to the emissions from 10-15 million cars.

One project, the £1.5billion Net Zero Teesside scheme, is set to be constructed on 150 acres of the Teesworks site. Backed by a consortium of energy companies led by bp, this would see the creation of the UK’s first fully integrated, commercial-scale gas-fired power station with carbon capture, utilisation and storage capabilities, paving the way to establish a fully decarbonised industrial cluster by 2040.

As part of the East Coast Cluster, the scheme has been named by Government as the UK’s premier net zero project to lead the country’s low-carbon ambitions. It could provide enough power for up to 1.3million homes while capturing up to 2million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. This would be transported and securely stored under the North Sea.

Welcoming the news, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, said: “Delivering new industrial green technology is the only way we are going to meet our 2050 target, no ifs no buts.

“Whilst other areas do a lot of talking we are getting on and leading the charge across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool.

“It has become clear that Net Zero Teesside is the most advanced energy project of its kind and is the jewel in the crown of the UK’s Clean Growth strategy.

“This commitment of £20billion from the UK Government was the last hurdle for the project getting spades in the ground and I’ll be pushing Government to make sure the Net Zero Teesside project is selected immediately so that we can get on, deliver energy security and create the jobs of the future.

“The project will deliver 5,500 jobs in construction and hundreds more in the long term. Not only will Net Zero Teesside be an environmental game changer, but it will deliver billions of pounds of investment and thousands of good quality local jobs for Teesside. This is what we promised, and we are ready to deliver.”

The Chancellor will also announce plans to boost nuclear power generation by launching a competition for the UK’s first Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, the future of nuclear projects in the UK.

The region was previously revealed to have made the final shortlist for Rolls-Royce’s first factory to manufacture key components for its fleet of SMR power stations. A heavy pressure vessels factory will produce and assemble some of the largest and most complex parts of the power stations, representing a £100million to £200million investment, creating more than 200 long-term, highly skilled roles.

The government is already investing £210 million into the project, matched by private sector funding. Rolls-Royce’s reactor design is currently being assessed by safety regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Speaking on this news, Tees Valley Mayor Houchen said: “It’s well known that Teesworks is down to the last three sites for this vital project.

“This is yet another huge opportunity where our region will lead in the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of the future.

“It’s now vital that Government moves quickly to get this cutting-edge project off the ground.”

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