East Coast links vital to clean industrial growth

The decarbonisation of the UK’s industrial base can happen very cost-effectively, especially if East Coast clusters work together to exploit their world-class expertise, shared infrastructure and proximity to sub-sea carbon stores, MPs will be told today.

Speaking alongside representatives of the Government and other industrial clusters at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Neil Kenley, Director of Business Investment at Tees Valley Unlimited, will reiterate Teesside Collective’s determination to drive forward industrial decarbonisation to create a sustainable and prosperous future for the UK, and develop the advantages of collaboration with other similar clusters.

East Coast clusters in Teesside, Grangemouth and Humberside are all looking at ways in which carbon usage, hydrogen production and other technologies, along with CCS, can be used to reduce still further carbon emissions from industrial processes that make a vital contribution to the wider UK economy. Linking clusters on the East Coast with shared infrastructure could significantly reduce individual costs.

With the Government’s competitive funding for CCS on power stations no longer available, the decarbonisation of energy-intensive industries is seen as crucial to maintaining momentum towards meeting the UK’s climate change targets and Paris commitments in a cost-effective way.

Neil Kenley will tell the assembled MPs, peers and industrial representatives:

“Our members in Teesside are facing ever more intense competition from overseas. And they are facing the prospect of escalating carbon prices and demand from customers for environmentally sustainable products.

“All of this points to the need to find ways of reducing industrial emissions or even transforming CO2 into useful materials in order to retain and attract internationally mobile investment and the associated job creation.

“Looking up and down the East Coast, we have the same pressures, the same goals and the same opportunities as other clusters. Collaboration between Teesside, Grangemouth, Humberside and others has to be the way forward if we’re to succeed in a cost-effective way.”

Industries in Teesside employ in the region of 10,000 people and make a vital contribution to the wider UK economy. The area is responsible for 58% of the UK’s chemical industry. It produces polyester resin for 15 billion recyclable drinks bottles a year.

North East process industries as a whole contribute £26 billion per annum to the UK economy. There are more than 1,400 companies directly involved or in the supply chain of these industries, together employing 190,000 people. The sector exports £12 billion each year – helping the North East become the leading net exporting region in the UK.

Priorities for Teesside Collective now include:

  • To update ‘Blueprint for Industrial CCS’ in the context of East Coast clusters, the Northern Powerhouse initiative and the Government’s plans to support new gas-fired power stations.
  • To scope out opportunities for direct income streams, including the development of the hydrogen economy, opening the way to decarbonise domestic as well as industrial heat, rail and road transport; and converting CO2 into commercially viable products such as bio-oils, chemicals, fertilisers and fuels.
  • Ensure cost-effective storage options and pipeline transmission infrastructure are retained against future developments.