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Landmark report for the Solent launched to MPs at Westminster

Feb 26, 2024

The report, highlighting the local community benefits that key decarbonisation projects could bring to the region and beyond, was launched in the House of Commons at an event organised by the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and hosted by Alex Cunningham MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS).

The report reveals that The Solent Cluster could be a catalyst for sustainable growth. One of the Cluster’s strategic priorities is to support the development of a world-class talent base, to help people at all stages of their careers to build the skills needed to respond to new technologies and drive an innovative knowledge-based economy. It is estimated that total capital expenditure could sustain 70,000 direct and indirect jobs between 2023 and 2035, of which around 18,900 would be newly created skilled jobs.

Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Minister Lord Callanan, said: “We need to cut emissions to get to net zero, and carbon capture will play an important role in this mission. That’s why we’re backing it with a £20 billion investment – one of the biggest in Europe. And with the UK’s infrastructure, skills and geology, we are in prime position to become world leaders in this pioneering technology. I welcome this report which shows the potential to unlock major investment in the carbon capture industry and create thousands of new jobs in the region.”

Alex Cunningham MP, Chair of the APPG for CCUS, said: “Carbon capture and storage will play a critical role in our reaching Net Zero, and so I very much welcome the launch of this report highlighting the contribution, benefits, and opportunities it could bring to the Solent and beyond.  We have made some progress with CCUS in recent times but the Government must accelerate its decision making around these projects and give the green light to investors across the country who are keen to get on with the job and deliver.”

Decarbonising Solent industries on the UK’s Net Zero journey provides the opportunity for low-carbon investment that could grow the regional economy, protect skilled jobs, and create new employment opportunities. The report reveals the huge economic potential of the region and highlights how it can make a significant contribution towards achieving the UK’s Net Zero ambitions through the deployment of critical technologies across industry, transport, and more. The Cluster’s anchor projects could secure a £11.9 billion investment, contributing over £4.4 billion in gross value added to the UK economy by 2035. Furthermore, the report reveals that there is enormous potential to produce significant volumes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the Solent region. SAF could be sent to Heathrow and Gatwick airports through the existing pipeline network. 

Penny Mordaunt MP for Portsmouth North and Leader of the House of Commons, said: “This report confirms the huge opportunity that decarbonising the Solent offers, from the creation of new skilled jobs to supporting key national industries like aviation and shipping on their own journeys to Net Zero. It is crucial we get these key foundation projects up and running as soon as possible.”

Furthermore, the report reveals that there is enormous potential to produce significant volumes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the Solent region. SAF could be sent to Heathrow and Gatwick airports through the existing pipeline network. 

Ruth Herbert, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association said: “It’s great to see plans for the Solent Cluster moving forward. There are clear local and national benefits from developing CO2 and hydrogen infrastructure across the UK. It’s compelling to see this collaboration between industry and local skills and education providers, making the case for this strategically important regional investment that can contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of the South of England.”

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chair of The Solent Cluster, said: “Our vision is for the Solent to become a world-leading centre for low-carbon investment, catalysing the growth of the regional economy and beyond. Through the deployment of critical technologies, we aim to create new opportunities for green jobs and position our region as a talent hub for next-generation technical skills.

“The Solent has a unique potential to accelerate Net Zero ambition by transforming energy production and consumption. Our anchor projects could not only strengthen energy resilience but also create a low carbon economy, boost economic growth, and contribute to the expansion of the regional employment market.”

1 According data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) large point source database 

2 Basis: Assumed construction of 1.4 GW H2 plant, 200 KTA SAF plant both with operational availability of 90%, and CO2 capture plant at Marchwood ERF facility, with operational availability of 95%. H2 plant uncaptured direct emissions of 17.75 tonnes CO2 / hour resulting in 2.66 million tonnes per annum of CO2 to storage, SAF plant uncaptured direct emissions of 34 t CO2/ hour resulting in 0.79 million tonnes per annum of CO2 to storage. Comparison against calculated baseline of Solent area emissions leads to 42% reduction in direct emissions for the Solent area.