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Impressive plans for hydrogen plant powered by wind and solar at Trecwn



THE SITE of a former Royal Navy Armaments Depot in Pembrokeshire could soon be leading the way in making fuel for buses, HGVs, trains, and industry in Wales more environmentally friendly, under plans announced today.

Commenting on the plans, local MP Stephen Crabb said: “This is an exciting proposal which certainly fits with Pembrokeshire’s emerging status as a key location for clean energy investment. It has the potential to breathe new life into an historically important site. It’s important that Statkraft now works closely with the local community to explain the project and demonstrate the benefits for people living in Trecwn.” 

Trecwn Green Energy Hub, which is being developed by Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, is the company’s first green hydrogen project to be announced in the UK. The Hub is the first of several projects planned by Statkraft, which would create jobs and utilise local knowledge and skills, helping transport switch from using fossil fuels to clean alternatives.

The new plant will be build on the site of the disused railway shed in Trecwn (Image: File)

The Pembrokeshire plant, which is planned to be constructed on the site of a disused rail transfer shed, would generate approximately three tonnes of green hydrogen a day. This is enough to run a single bus for over 40,000 miles, or the equivalent of making 350 journeys from Fishguard to Cardiff, but without the harmful emissions produced by traditional diesel or petrol fuels.

Whereas hydrogen is traditionally extracted from fossil fuels, Statkraft’s proposal for Trecwn is for green hydrogen – which is extracted from water in a process powered by electricity generated by renewable energy. In this case, from three wind turbines and ground-mounted solar panels, free from carbon emissions.

There are also plans for a truck refueling station (Image File)

The hydrogen fuel cell was invented in Wales back in 1842 by William Grove and has since been used as part of industrial processes and commercial settings. Hydrogen can be used for a range of purposes including zero carbon fuel, in industry, and manufacturing.

It is intended that green hydrogen generated at Trecwn will be used to power trains running on railway lines west of Swansea, delivering many of the benefits of electrification, such as using a zero-carbon fuel, but at significantly lower capital costs and with fewer requirements for new infrastructure. It could also power Pembrokeshire Council’s fleet of HGV lorries and local buses, with the site able to produce enough green hydrogen to run around 170 buses every day, when operational.

The proposals would help support Welsh Government’s Net Zero Strategy to produce the equivalent of 70% of electricity consumption in Wales through renewable sources by 2030, as well as contributing towards the delivery of The Big Green Plan, Pembrokeshire Council’s decarbonisation strategy.

As the proposed facility will generate more than 10MW of renewable electricity it is defined as a Development of National Significance. The planning application will therefore be submitted to Planning and Environmental Decisions Wales (PEDW) with the final decision made by Welsh ministers. Early site investigations have started and Statkraft will shortly be submitting a scoping request to PEDW to ensure the appropriate environmental studies are carried out as the proposals are developed.

The train shed now that rails have been removed (Image: Handout)

Statkraft is also contacting around 5,000 homes and businesses in the local community with further details on the project, and consultation events. Public drop-in sessions are being held from 3-7pm on Monday 24 October onsite in Trecwn Valley Boardroom, on Tuesday 25 October in Letterston Memorial Hall, and Wednesday 26 October in Fishguard Community Learning Centre. A webinar is also being held on 9 November, with further details about this, the proposals, and how people can feedback, on the project website:

Matt Kelly, from Statkraft UK, said: “Trecwn Green Energy Hub presents an exciting opportunity to produce homegrown green energy for local use and has the potential to act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of Trecwn Valley. We’re working closely with Pembrokeshire County Council, and despite being at an early stage of the project, we’re keen to hear what local people think.

“We’re determined that our renewable energy projects benefit local people more widely and have distributed over £2 million to communities near our projects, as well as working to make environmental improvements to the sites we operate. We look forward to sharing more details of our plans as they progress.”

A Hydrogen car being refulled in Milford Haven Marina (Pic Milford Haven Port Authority)

Cllr Paul Miller, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change said: “Today’s announcement in respect of the Trecwn Green Energy Hub is evidence of the building momentum behind the green energy market in Pembrokeshire.

“Growing and nurturing renewable technology and industry right across the county, including in our more rural communities, is vital to ensure we position Pembrokeshire and the South West region at the heart of Wales’s renewable energy push.”

The ambitious project would require there to be a demand for hydrogen in the area as it cannot easily be transported.

Speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald’s editor Tom Sinclair last week, Mícheál Ó Broin, Senior Project Manager of Statkraft said that he expected the hydrogen to sell well.

“We are in talks with local bus companies and Transport for Wales about hydrogen powered transport. This is at an early stage and we have had positive conversations.”

“We also envisage having a depot where lorries and trucks can fill up, which will look similar to a petrol station, near the site. There are many lorries travelling on the A40 heading to and from the ferry port which in the future would need to fill up with hydrogen.”

Mr Broin also said that he would be interested in talking to local garage owners to see if they would be willing to sell the hydrogen. It could be delivered throughout the local area in tankers, he told The Herald.

The Norwegian renewables company has many succesful green projects throughout the UK and Europe and is a subsidawry of the government in Norway.

Hydogen powered vehicles are alread on the road in Northern Europe (Pic: File)


Celebration event marks 65 years of progress at Wales’ largest port



OVER 200 guests, including the First Minister, the Welsh Secretary, and the Chair of the Welsh Select Committee, came together at a gala dinner to mark the 65th anniversary of the creation of the Port of Milford Haven.

Representatives from the Port’s broad stakeholder base including clients, business and community partners, and current and future generations, attended the celebration which provided a moment to pause and reflect but also, importantly, to look forward.

During the evening, a short film was launched which captures the organisation’s rich history, alongside a glimpse into the promising future that lies ahead, rooted in the evolution of the nationally critical assets along the Milford Haven Waterway and green industries

Milford Haven is a major trust port, the largest port in Wales and the third biggest port in the UK. It plays a critical strategic role in supplying the country with fuel, gas and electricity, with major multi-million investments underway to create a green future.

The Port also plays a fundamental role in attracting tourists to Pembrokeshire, while promoting enduring partnerships with many youth, community and environmental groups.

Port boss: Tom Sawyer gives a speech

An impressive line-up of speakers set out a clear vision for the Waterway, for Pembrokeshire, and for the region as Wales embraces the opportunities created by a Net Zero future.

“From humble beginnings, the Port has been on a remarkable journey,” reflected Tom Sawyer, CEO of Port of Milford Haven, while expressing his gratitude to all those who have contributed to the journey at the special evening.

He added: “As we embark on the next leg of our journey, the gala dinner was an opportunity to pause, reflect and look to the future. Over the past 65 years, we’ve gone from a bustling naval dockyard and fishing port, to become the country’s premier energy port.

“With our local and global partners, the future is bright: rooted in cleaner fuels, cleaner energy and innovation, with the Haven Waterway acting as green centre for excellence.

“The century ahead promises a bright future for the generations ahead, based upon fulfilling employment and a just transition to a cleaner future.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “As the UK’s leading energy port, Milford Haven waterway’s contribution to Wales’s economy, and the UK’s energy security, cannot be overstated.  Milford Haven Port
has been the foundation for so much of the region’s economic prosperity, with thousands of local people providing the skills to support our natural gas and petrochemical industries.

“Congratulations to everyone involved on the anniversary and I look forward to many more decades of the Port’s contribution to Wales.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: “I was delighted to attend this celebration of 65 years of the success for the Port of Milford Haven. It’s now the foremost energy port in the UK – a remarkable achievement.

“And it was great to hear about the bright future for the Port as it continues to develop. I had the opportunity to set out the UK Government’s ambition for developing floating offshore wind the in Celtic sea, and the investments that we are making to support that vision.

“Of course the Port of Milford Haven will have a vital role to play in that future and I’d like to thank them for their continued hard work and investment in Wales.”

Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, said: “The Port is not just a part of Milford Haven; it is the beating heart of Milford Haven. It provides an identity and character to the town that is very special indeed.
But it’s also a source of jobs and prosperity for the whole County of Pembrokeshire.

“So it is right that we celebrate this important milestone, while also looking ahead to the new opportunities that green energy will bring to the Haven. With the world once again facing a period of enormous economic and industrial change, the Port of Milford Haven is well placed to capture a new generation of investment and opportunities that will benefit local people.”

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Shocking report reveals toxic infighting at S4C



THE FORMER Chief Executive of Welsh language broadcaster S4C created an atmosphere of fear at the channel, bullied staff and behaved “like a dictator”.

Those are the findings of an explosive report prepared for S4C by Capital Law, the Cardiff-based legal team hired to investigate misconduct allegations. S4C has around 120 employees; 92 spoke to Capital Law during its investigation.


The report outlines several recurring complaints about Sian Doyle, who was sacked as S4C’s Chief Executive last week. Participants reported that Sian Doyle’s leadership style was: “dictatorial, creating a culture of fear”.

The report also records incidents when the former CEO spoke in a foul-mouthed and derogatory way about on-screen and backroom staff, belittled those who raised questions, and belittled staff in meetings.

Her “confrontational” behaviour reduced some to tears, caused others to suffer adversely with their mental health, and contributed towards staff leaving S4C.

One employee reported suffering “a major health event” at a management away day meeting in Llangrannog.

The employee described an animated conversation involving the Chief Executive and other senior staff members about the level of change required at S4C.

The conversation spoke about replacing many staff who were described as: “not worth worrying about” and that the Chief Executive suggested a lot of the staff at S4C did not have the skills or knowledge to justify being in their jobs. Sian Doyle reportedly suggested losing: “at least 50 of them”.

Conversely, several participants recognised that change is needed within S4C and that the general strategic direction Sian Doyle was working towards was positive. Investigators also heard from staff who spoke positively about her and described her conduct towards them as “supportive”.

Sacked: Report criticises former CEO Sian Doyle


Making recommendations about S4C’s future broadcasting and commissioning strategy was far beyond the report’s remit. However, it is clear from the issues in the report that there is considerable tension within the organisation over its direction.

The report’s content permits the inference that different parts of S4C management were engaged in guerilla warfare against each other, and staff were caught in the crossfire between the rival camps.

That inference is strongly supported by a statement by the S4C Authority that said, “Participants recognised that change is needed at S4C and that the senior management team were intent on delivering an ambitious vision for the channel’s future.
“It appears, however, that the way some shared this with staff and the approach to managing change across the organisation was insensitive. “This often led to conflict and insecurity rather than creativity and a positive, inclusive transformation. It is clear that many S4C staff have been unhappy at work and that our organisation did not seem to have appropriate working practices to deal openly and appropriately with staff concerns.”


The S4C Authority issued a statement: “The report paints a picture of a very difficult working environment for many at S4C. Participants described an unsettling workplace, with some individual members of the senior management team behaving inappropriately and with an approach that directly impacted the well-being of staff.
“As members of the S4C Authority, we would like to say sorry to those who have had to tolerate unacceptable behaviours in the workplace and for the upset that this has caused. We would like to thank you for your openness and honesty in sharing your experiences, enabling the failings highlighted in today’s report to be identified.”

The statement continued: “The S4C Authority is committed to ensuring that S4C is a place where our colleagues are happy and safe – a place where they feel able to perform at their best and thrive. We recognise that significant work is required to implement new working methods that will allow S4C to build a positive future with a supported and creative workforce.
“To do that, we need to restore confidence and trust amongst our staff, who have a crucial role in the organisation’s future success. Integral to that success is leadership focussed on collaboration and communication. As an Authority, we decided this would require new leadership at S4C, and we will shortly make further announcements about that process.”


The Senedd’s Culture Committee has called members of the S4C Board to give evidence on Thursday, December 14.

Delyth Jewell MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee, said:
“The continued allegations in the media related to S4C are deeply worrying.
“With rumours and speculation circulating, the Committee is keen for these questions to be answered publicly.
“We are inviting the Chair and a member of S4C’s Board to give evidence next week to bring clarity for the people of Wales.
“To restore public trust in the broadcaster, it is essential that they are open and transparent in this process.
“To this end, we welcome the report’s publication and will consider its contents before speaking to S4C next week.
“We know how important the success of S4C is for the Welsh language and Wales as a country and we will be doing all we can to get answers from the channel’s leadership over the coming weeks.”

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British Business Bank announces changes to the delivery of Start Up Loans in Wales



THE BRITISH BUSINESS BANK has announced changes to the future delivery of its Start Up Loans programme for businesses in Wales.

From 24 February 2024, working in partnership with Business in Focus as an affiliate of the Start Up Loans programme, the Bank will be providing pre-loan support directly to Welsh businesses.

This initiative brings together Business in Focus’ extensive experience and networks with the Bank’s direct partnerships within the Welsh business support ecosystem. The initiative will combine these relationships with an internal British Business Bank team of Business Advisors who will be dedicated to furthering Wales’ dynamic business economy by supporting and increasing the number of startup businesses accessing early-stage funding.

Where recruitment opportunities for the programme become available, the Bank will seek to draw from a pool of candidates that include Welsh-speaking Business Advisors and Loan Approvers.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending at the British Business Bank said, “I would like to thank Business in Focus for successfully delivering the service in Wales for the past ten years, and am grateful for their support going forward. We are looking forward to building on their work to deliver vital startup capital and support to Welsh businesses through our programme over the coming months.”

Phil Jones, Chief Executive, Business in Focus, said “In partnership with the British Business Bank and The Start-Up Loans Company, Business in Focus has delivered the Start Up Loans programme in Wales for over 10 years. Over that time, the more than £47.2m loaned to Welsh businesses has helped many to grow, to diversify and to transform their prospects of success. We are now working with the British Business Bank on a re-designed model of delivery – one that matches the changing needs of our client base and is relevant for the next 10 years.

“We are extremely proud of what the Start Up Loans programme has achieved. I would like to thank all the brilliant Business in Focus experts who have delivered this transformational service and the more than 4,600 entrepreneurs who put their faith in us to help them succeed and to release their entrepreneurial potential through the programme.”

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