The government has awarded more than £700,000 of funding to deliver what will be the first smart energy blueprint in the UK.
The Cheshire Energy Hub will deliver the E-Port Net Zero blueprint, a 10-year roadmap for a cost-effective transition to net zero, which could see around £100 million invested in the region by 2025.
The blueprint will define a local low carbon smart energy system for the Energy Innovation District (EID) – an area surrounding the industrial area of Ellesmere Port in Cheshire – which could deliver cheaper and cleaner energy for power, heating and transport.
The area around Ellesmere Port is one of the UK’s largest industrial clusters – consisting of some of the largest manufacturers including oil refining, glass, nuclear, chemical production and automotive – and consumes around 5% of the nation’s energy.
West Cheshire is the fourth largest CO2 emitter in the UK, largely due to the dominance of these energy-intensive companies.
The EID brings together energy users, network owners, innovators and partners – including EA Technology, Energy Systems Catapult, Ikigai, Peel L&P Environmental and ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) – and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Cheshire West and Chester Council and the University of Chester.
They will explore current and future energy generation in the area, including renewables and how electric vehicles (EVs) and new fuels like hydrogen could change the energy market.
The Cheshire Energy Hub represents the sub-region on Net Zero North West – the new industry-led industrial cluster which is aiming to develop the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030.
Ged Barlow, Chair of the Cheshire Energy Hub said: “Reaching net zero emissions is going to require a significant amount of investment in new technologies and infrastructure to decarbonise power, heating and transport. In the area around Ellesmere Port alone we’re looking at £100m by 2025. But for these investments to be made there needs to be a holistic plan which looks at the whole energy system.
“This isn’t something that can be led centrally. To decarbonise successfully, in a timely and cost-effective way, we need to be looking at local solutions that set out the various projects and enable informed capital investment decisions to be made. Investors don’t want to look at piecemeal initiatives, they want to see a joined-up approach to decarbonisation.
“The E-Port smart energy system will be the first of its kind in the UK and will develop a model which can be rolled out nationally and exported overseas. This funding is an important step forward and demonstrates how Cheshire and the North West is leading the way on the net zero agenda.”