UK smart energy district secures roadmap development funding

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Cheshire Energy Hub has secured funding to develop a blueprint for a smart energy system for the Energy Innovation District at Ellesmere Port.

The government funding of £700,000 ($907,000) will support the delivery of the E-Port Net Zero blueprint to transition the Ellesmere Port area in Cheshire to net zero.

The blueprint will define a 10-year plan to develop a local low carbon smart energy system for the Energy Innovation District surrounding the industrial heartland of the port to deliver cheaper and cleaner energy for power, heating and transport.

The project, claimed a UK first, is believed to see up to £100 million invested in the region by 2025 and will create a model that could be applied nationally, as well as exported internationally.

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“Reaching net zero emissions is going to require a significant amount of investment in new technologies and infrastructure to decarbonise power, heating and transport. But for these investments to be made there needs to be a holistic plan which looks at the whole energy system,” says Ged Barlow, chair of the Cheshire Energy Hub.

“This isn’t just about developing a timely and cost effective roadmap for decarbonisation in Cheshire. This is about safeguarding and growing the jobs that have made this region thrive.”

The area around Ellesmere Port is one of the UK’s largest industrial clusters and consumes around 5% of the UK’s energy. The area includes some of the UK’s largest manufacturers including oil refining, glass, nuclear, chemical production and automotive.

West Cheshire is the fourth largest CO2 emitter in the UK, largely due to the dominance of these energy-intensive companies. This led Cheshire West & Chester Council to declare a climate emergency last year with its main priority to drive industrial decarbonisation in the Energy Innovation District.

The total project cost is £930,000 with the balance provided by local private sector partners.

Project partners include SP Energy Networks as the network operator alongside energy users, innovators and academic institutions.

The Cheshire Energy Hub represents the sub-region on Net Zero North West, a new industry led industrial cluster which is aiming to develop the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster by 2030.