Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (31 May) welcomed the news that the region will play host to a major Government green trade event this year, further cementing the area as the UK’s green capital.
In the autumn, the region will welcome the Green Trade and Investment Expo, hosted alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for International Trade. It will bring together UK businesses and global investors to capitalise on the commercial opportunities as the country continues its drive to net-zero.
Teesside is already spearheading the UK’s clean energy ambitions, with transformative projects secured in the low carbon and offshore sectors.
These include projects such as Circular Fuels’ pioneering £150million waste to gas facility, announced just yesterday, which is coming to the Teesworks site. Teesworks will also be home to SeAH Wind and its mammoth £300million offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility, with work set to begin on-site in a matter of weeks. GE Renewable Energy’s offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing factory is also set to be located at the redeveloped former Redcar steelworks.
We are driving forward carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) with Net Zero Teesside Power’s gas-fired power plant with CCUS capabilities, which will take carbon produced from the facility and transport it to the North Sea for storage. The project is aiming to create the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster by 2040.
Bp, which is leading on Net Zero Teesside, will also establish two large-scale hydrogen production facilities – HyGreen Teesside producing green hydrogen, H2Teesside producing blue – with a combined 1.5GW capacity which could deliver 30% of the Government’s 5GW hydrogen production target by 2030. Kellas Midstream is also establishing its own blue hydrogen facility – H2NorthEast – in the region.
Mayor Houchen previously called on Government to bring the Expo to the region, so would-be investors could see first-hand the scale of opportunity at sites like Teesworks, and those coming thanks to the Teesside Freeport, the UK’s biggest and first to be operational Freeport.
Following the announcement, he said: “I’ve been pushing Government for a while to make this Expo a reality, so I’m delighted we’ll soon be welcoming national and international investors to the region. This will allow them to see first-hand the innovative schemes in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow.
“This decision proves Government is sitting up and noticing what we’re doing to not only drive forward the country’s low carbon ambitions but also help set the agenda with many world-first schemes currently in the pipeline.
“On top of that, we’re also playing our part in the future of trade, with the Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation being set up right here too.
“A laundry list of massive projects and investments have been announced across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool which are going ahead right now, showing that we’re not just talking about it, we’re delivering it.”
Other transformational projects taking place include its designation as the UK’s Hydrogen Hub, with a hydrogen vehicle refuelling station set up on Teesside Airport to support its hydrogen vehicle trials, alongside other key bodies. The use of hydrogen is being researched for use in domestic gas supplies too, with Northern Gas Networks drawing up plans for the UK’s first hydrogen village in parts of Redcar.
Long-standing Tees Valley businesses are investing big in the technologies of the future, with Sembcorp setting out to create Europe’s largest battery, a 360mw energy storage system, on its Wilton International site.
SABIC is investing up to £850million to restart its hydrocarbon cracker, the second largest in Europe, which breaks down hydrocarbons to produce chemicals such as ethylene, propylene and butadiene, ahead of converting it to run on hydrogen.
Alfanar group is also aiming to be the first company to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from waste at scale in the UK, investing £1billion to convert household and commercial waste into 180million litres of SAF and liquid hydrocarbon naptha.