Published on: Monday December 7, 2020

This post was first published by Business Live

Plans for a hydrogen hub for Holyhead are a step closer with the announcement of Welsh Government funding for the initial phase of the development.

The first of its kind in Wales, the hub is to be developed by Anglesey social enterprise, Menter Môn, in partnership with Anglesey County Council.

It forms part of Anglesey’s Energy Island programme vision to create jobs, economic growth and prosperity through capitalising on a number of transformational projects on the island.

This new development will also ensure the county is at the forefront of this emerging sector – with the fuel potentially used to power HGVs and ships

Parc Cybi has been identified as the most suitable site for locating the hub – due to its proximity to the port and the A55.

It would involve a central hydrogen production facility and filling station; and subsequent distribution of hydrogen to a network of end users, including satellite filling stations at specific locations.

The Hub will create 20-30 initial jobs and help support over 500 in local businesses. Estimated capital expenditure for the pilot project has a range of between £4.8m to £7.3m.

Benefits of hydrogen have long been known as a zero-emission fuel for transportation, a long-term energy store as well as for heating homes. Seen as a first step, the proposals would see the production of hydrogen at Holyhead as well as a fuelling distribution centre.

Expressions of interest in the project and its scale-up opportunities – extending to concrete partnership offerings in some cases have been received from across the UK and internationall

Dafydd Gruffydd, managing director of Menter Môn, said: “We are excited to be making this announcement and are pleased that Welsh Government has earmarked an initial £105k so that we can move forward with the technical design for the project.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Isle of Anglesey County Council, to help ensure that Holyhead is in a prime position to lead the way in a sector with so many opportunities for the wider region in terms of jobs, skills and the supply chain.

“The new hub is also a good fit with other Menter Môn projects, specifically Morlais – our 240MW tidal energy scheme off the coast of Holy Island.

“Faced with the prospect of ensuring a green recovery post pandemic, the time is right to make sure that hydrogen is part of efforts to decarbonise our economy.”

Talking about the development, Ken Skates, Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “Anglesey has the infrastructure, expertise, and importantly the willingness to move this agenda forward, so we are pleased to support this first step.

“I believe we can make hydrogen work for us here in Wales and I am keen to help ensure it can play a part as we strive to reach our net zero carbon target

The plans have attracted support from large local employers including Stena Line, Delsol as well as SP Energy Networks. Partners in the public and R&D sectors have also thrown their support behind the proposal.

As well as Anglesey County Council, they include Menai Science Park (M-SParc) and Coleg Menai.

Cllr Bob Parry is the Highways, Waste and Property portfolio holder at Anglesey County Council.

He added: “This is an exciting opportunity in an emerging sector, which contributes towards the Isle of Anglesey County Council’s Energy Island Programme vision. This new project has the potential to create significant economic benefits, including much needed employment opportunities for our young people.”

Ynys Mon MP Virginia Crosbie said: “I am inspired by the work taking place on Anglesey. All over our ‘Energy Island’ innovators are building our tomorrow, and by helping to tackle climate change they are solving the biggest issues facing not just the UK, but the whole world.”