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UK’s Energy Capital maps out low carbon vision in Wales

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THE MILFORD HAVEN WATERWAY FUTURE ENERGY CLUSTER, supplying 20% of the UK’s annual energy demand, maps out a vision to drive a 30 year multi-billion pound investment platform to deliver a secure, resilient, low carbon future.

The Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster, representing the UK’s energy capital, has outlined a vision for a low carbon future at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The Cluster – a coalition of energy companies, renewable developers, green technology innovators, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven – outlined how their plans will play a pivotal role in enhancing the wellbeing of future generations and in helping the Welsh Government achieve a just transition to net zero in Wales.

The Senedd reception – sponsored by Senedd Members Samuel Kurtz, Joyce Watson, Cefin Campbell and Jane Dodds – was attended by more than 100 people from across business, academia, government and politics in Wales.

The Cluster’s plans include a pathway to support at least 20% of the UK’s hydrogen production target and 10% of the Celtic Sea Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) target by 2030. Continued utilisation, adaptation and innovation in the Haven will also support the development of low carbon liquid fuels, CO2 shipping, marine renewables and energy storage.

The Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster also demonstrated to political stakeholders and industry representatives how its whole energy cycle solution has a pivotal role to play in supporting an accelerated transition while stimulating substantial economic growth in Wales.

Early economic analysis undertaken for the Cluster by Cardiff Business School indicates that its vision could add an additional 3,000 Welsh jobs to the 5,000 already supported by the Milford Haven Waterway energy sector.

To deliver this vision and unlock substantial international private sector investment, the Cluster called on Welsh and UK Governments, National Grid, The Crown Estate and OFGEM to support the future success of this critical national energy asset by:

  • Expanding South Wales’ Grid capacity by 10GW by 2030
  • Implementing a fast-tracked consenting regime
  • Backing a Celtic Freeport bid
  • Introducing mechanisms to de-risk the Celtic Sea FLOW opportunity
  • Backing a South Wales FLOW infrastructure bid
  • Supporting the Milford Haven Waterway SuperPlace ambition, including both blue and green hydrogen
  • Supporting prioritisation of South Wales in National Grid’s Project Union
  • Supporting a BEIS Cluster Sequencing Track 2 bid
  • Incentivising the production and use of low carbon fuels
  • Backing Skills Accelerator and Supply Chain Accelerator programmes.

Speaking on behalf of the Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster, Tom Sawyer, CEO at the Port of Milford Haven, said:

“By the 2040’s the Milford Haven Waterway aims to be a significant exporter of low carbon electricity and hydrogen, and a globally recognised example of a low carbon, smart energy system fully capable of supporting society’s energy needs reliably, cost effectively and with significantly reduced emissions.

Playing our vital role in the transformation of the energy industry with its consequent investment in green jobs will help Wales reach net zero. We will help deliver the just transition that the Welsh Government and politicians across the spectrum wish to see.

We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to share our plans to create around 3,000 jobs in Wales. We’ll be investing in green skills in our local communities and creating new career opportunities for future generations.”

Samuel Kurtz, MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire welcomed the Cluster’s vision, saying: “The Haven Waterway has long played a key role in the hydrocarbon industry, including oil and gas. With the focus turning to the fuel, energy and technologies of the future, the waterway has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of some exciting developments, such as floating offshore wind and hydrogen production.

“Highlighting these opportunities, and the jobs that will be created in Pembrokeshire is paramount if we are to unlock our potential and see our communities thrive. I’m pleased to champion this in the Senedd and urge us all to get behind these renewable projects.”

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales said: “I welcomed the opportunity to co-sponsor this event at the Senedd, promoting the vast potential the Haven Waterway poses in delivering a low carbon future which enhances the well-being of future generations and delivers against Welsh Government’s Net Zero and Energy strategies.

South-west Wales has the potential to become a global leader in a green energy revolution – delivering huge economic and social benefits for the local communities. I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to grasp these significant opportunities and fulfil such ambitions.”

Chris Williams, Head of Industrial Decarbonisation for Industry Wales and SWIC Lead added:

“The Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster will play such a vital role in decarbonising industries in South Wales. Milford Haven has the ability to supply SWIC industries with huge amounts of low carbon power, fuels, hydrogen and CCUS infrastructure that will support our industries by developing the infrastructure they will need to make things in a net zero way. This development is so important to providing a ‘just transition’ for south Wales and the Celtic Freeport bid is essential in accelerating this hugely important initiative.”

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Welsh Freeport competition heats up with Senedd vote

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ON WEDNESDAY, the Senedd will hold a debate regarding freeports as the competition for UK and Welsh Government funding nears its conclusion.

Currently, three bids are in from across Wales for a chance to benefit from £26 million of direct UK Government funding, as well as reduced taxes for businesses in the freeport area. A Welsh freeport could see up to 16,000 jobs created and further investment or the local area into the billions.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Economy, Paul Davies MS said:

“Benefits of a freeport cannot be understated, bringing much needed jobs and investment into some of the most deprived areas of Wales.

“The UK Government put the challenge to Wales to submit exceptional bids, and Wales has delivered.

“All three bids would help to transform their local communities in different ways. It’s essential that the UK and Welsh Governments work together to deliver that second freeport for Wales, maximising the opportunities that these bids have to offer.”

The three Welsh Freeport bids are:

  • The Celtic Freeport (covering Pembrokeshire to Neath) which has estimated that it would create over 16,000 new jobs and up to £5.5 billion in new investment.
  • The Anglesey Freeport would support up to a £1 billion contribution to UK GDP by 2030, while also creating up to 13,000 new, high salary jobs in Ynys Môn.
  • The Newport Freeport (including Cardiff Airport) is aiming to increase non-passenger revenues to 50%, ending their reliance of passenger generated income.

The UK Government stated that “if a truly exceptional proposal were presented at the bidding stage” than a second freeport would be funded.

The Welsh Conservative debate reads:

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Recognises the opportunities for freeports to energise the Welsh economy, create high quality jobs, promote regeneration and investment.

2. Notes that three bids from Wales have been submitted for consideration by the UK and Welsh Governments.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to deliver two freeports in Wales, recognising the truly exceptional proposals submitted and the transformational benefits they can deliver for the Welsh economy.

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Business

Site visit for National Park planners considering caravan park improvements

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NATIONAL PARK planners, expected to allow officers to approve an application to relocate caravans in a caravan park, will instead attend a site visit there.

Huw Pendleton, of Celtic Holiday Parks, had applied for a change of use of land for the siting of nine relocated static caravans and associated infrastructure improvements at Meadow House Holiday Park, Summerhill.

The application, before the February meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s Development Management Committee, had been recommended for delegated approval by officers if a string of conditions were met.

Delegated approval for the application at the 200-pitch site bordering the national park was mooted despite Amroth Community Council objecting to the application; recommending refusal.

A report for planners said 47 static pitches were previously permitted under a change from 55 touring pitches; nine of these static pitches now being proposed for relocation to an area of land within the holiday park.

It stated the overall number of pitches within the site is not proposed to be increased.

Correspondence had been received which raises concerns on the privacy impact from the proposed static caravans on existing residential properties, as well as the potential for noise and disturbance from occupiers of the site.

It was recommended for delegated approval with a string of conditions including the completion of a Section 106 agreement.

At the February 2 meeting, concerns were raised by neighbour Dorian Evans on amenity grounds, and by local county councillor Alec Cormack, who asked for deferment pending a site visit, saying there would be a “significant impact” on neighbouring properties, which was disputed by agent Gerald Blain.

Following a proposal by Councillor Simon Hancock, members agreed to attend a site visit.

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Successful forum held in Pembrokeshire for local landlords

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A NEW scheme enabling local private sector landlords to lease their property to the County Council in return for a guaranteed monthly rental income (Leasing Scheme Wales) has been launched at a Pembrokeshire Landlords Forum.

Held at County Hall in Haverfordwest last week, the successful Forum was attended by more than a hundred landlords.

As well as the launch of Leasing Scheme Wales, the Forum included presentations on the new housing act Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, fire safety in the private rented sector and eight key points for landlords.

The speakers were Fiona Brown, Private Rented Sector Liaison Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council, Gillian Owens from the National Residential Landlords Association, Stuart Macdonald from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and Julian Ings from Rent Smart Wales.

Cabinet Member for Housing Operations and Regulatory Services, Cllr Michelle Bateman, said it has been a very worthwhile evening.

“We were so pleased to see the level of attendance from landlords in Pembrokeshire,” she said. “There was a lot of interest in the presentations, particularly in the new renting homes act, plenty of questions and good feedback.”

Organised by the County Council’s housing team, the Forum will be a regular fixture with another one planned for the summer – date to be confirmed.

Cllr Bateman said they were also very pleased with the interest shown in Leasing Scheme Wales (LSW). The scheme enables local private sector landlords to lease their property to Pembrokeshire County Council for between five and 20 years, in return for a guaranteed monthly rental income and full property management service. LSW is funded by Welsh Government and managed by Pembrokeshire County Council.

“This scheme will help more Pembrokeshire people to live independently in safe and affordable properties,” said Cllr Bateman.
“Landlords will not have to worry about the condition of their properties after a tenancy as we will be responsible for the maintenance of the property and will return it to the landlord in the same condition as it was before the tenancy started. We will also be responsible for all the void work – the work done on properties in between tenancies.”

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