23 November 2022

ONE of the region’s key policy-making bodies has endorsed the Humber 2030 Vision for jobs, growth and decarbonisation, recently launched at the Waterline Summit and at a reception in the House of Lords.

Chair of the Humber Energy Board, Richard Gwilliam, speaking at the November meeting of the Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce’s Council described the House of Lords event as a resounding success including attendance from Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband MP amongst several local MPs from both political parties all of whom expressed their strong support.

Ed Miliband will be visiting the Chamber to hear first hand from local stakeholders about the progress and challenges of the Humber’s decarbonisation plans, having declared the Humber 2030 Vision document a “deeply impressive” piece of work in a speech at the House of Lords reception.

The vision document brings together £15 billion of decarbonisation projects underpinned by a new pipeline. Richard highlighted that the Humber was one of the biggest emitting regions in Europe which means there’s huge potential for decarbonisation. Humber businesses are working in partnership with those from Teesside as they will eventually store their CO2 in the same place.

However, Richard made the point that: “Teesside has had more success in attracting investment due to Mayor Ben Houchen providing a single point of contact for inward investors.

“The opportunity to decarbonise the Humber has international interest and there are multiple decarbonisation initiatives, but the lack of single message clarity has worked against us.” Richard was invited to chair the Humber Energy Board to bring together a regional consensus and took on the challenge which has led to the creation of this single vision which has now been presented in Parliament.

“For the first time we’ve been able to explain how all these decarbonisation projects relate to one another and the role of pipeline infrastructure to take all the captured CO2 out into the North Sea and store it in deep geological deposits. Our region will be serviced by two stores, the Northern Endurance Partnership store off the Yorkshire coast being promoted by the Northern Endurance Partnership and Harbour Energy who is looking to store captured CO2 in the depleted, legacy gas fields including Viking off the Lincolnshire coast. The whole process of Carbon Capture and Storage will allow the big industries to continue but with a much lower carbon footprint. There are few places in the world which can take this much CO2, so it is a world leading project.”

Explaining the project in more detail, Richard said: “At the heart of that vision is a network of pipelines that will run from Drax in the west to Keadby, to Scunthorpe to Immingham before crossing the estuary to Hull. These pipelines will take captured carbon dioxide away for permanent storage under the North Sea and bring hydrogen to existing industry to promote low carbon fuel switching.

“The pipelines will be buried, running anonymously through the region. The Humber is already a nationally important industrial economy but this opportunity is of international significance and recognised by the World Economic Forum.”

Chamber Vice President, Albert Weatherill, asked if the size of the C02 emitter made a big difference to the type of company which can take part in the project. Richard noted that pipeline entry requirements will be set by the pipeline operators but one of the reasons that the Humber is a front running region is that we have large economies of scale – clearly to make the pipeline cost effective you need large volumes of captured CO2.”

Chamber President, Mike Whitehead commented that the potential for this region is enormous and very exciting, but the sad thing was that we as a region are hiding our light under a bushel and not telling the rest of the world and the UK what is going on in the Humber – and that needs to change!"

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