Case Studies

Net Zero Week – Voices of our city – Royston Smith

Jul 04, 2023

The time is now to work together towards a lower carbon future for our region

The Solent Cluster is currently the only decarbonisation option in the South of England and, with over 80 members, is now the largest cluster in the UK. With industry giants like ABP, SSE, and British Airways in The Solent Cluster, its membership makes me confident that The Solent Cluster is not only the most viable but the most ably led.

ExxonMobil, as the Cluster’s CCS and transportation and storage lead, is proposing CO2 storage in the English Channel. Anchored around this proposed CCS capability, the Cluster has the potential to lower emissions across the Solent region and beyond through carbon capture, as well as hydrogen and biofuel production to support hard-to decarbonise sectors, including power generation, aviation and marine.

The likely changes to our local area could be felt for generations to come, and the Cluster has the potential to provide a catalyst for new investment, new green and productive jobs, and advance the Solent as a world-leading low-carbon economy.

If we are going to hit Net Zero, we need to be working now. No doubt, the certainty of access to policy is critical for investors, including emitters and hydrogen producers. Going forward, we need to have a balance between technology and bureaucracy, making sure that the development and implementation of new technologies such as decarbonisation is not unnecessarily slowed down by needless rules. Not only are we competing with other regions in the UK, but we are also competing with other countries too. The time for talking is over.