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The Celtic Freeport private-public sector partnership is led by Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.


The Freeport also includes renewables developers, energy companies, industrial complexes, innovation assets, academic institutions and education providers.


Celtic Freeport: A Catalyst for Sustainable Economic Development in Wales


Luciana Ciubotariu

GUEST COLUMN:

Luciana Ciubotariu
CEO Designate
Celtic Freeport

In the face of global challenges and the urgent need for sustainable development, the role of strategic initiatives like the Celtic Freeport cannot be overstated.

As the newly appointed CEO, I envision the Freeport not just as a facilitator but as a catalyst for accelerating sustainable economic development in Wales, particularly in the emerging sectors of renewable energy, such as floating offshore wind, sustainable fuels, hydrogen and carbon capture technologies.

The journey towards a green economy often presents a classic “chicken and egg” dilemma—what needs to come first? Is it investment, seabed leasing, distribution networks, market demand, or the development of specialised skills? It is here that the Celtic Freeport steps in as a central figure, capable of convening key stakeholders, including the governments, industry leaders, and investors, to align strategies, share risks and pool investments. This collaborative approach is essential for accelerating project developments and de-risking investments for all parties involved.

Our ambition is clear: to position the UK, and Wales in particular, not just as early adopters but as pioneers of innovation in the renewable energy sector. The geographical advantage in Wales, coupled with its skilled workforce and robust supply chain, presents an unparalleled opportunity for us to lead in this space. The transition to renewable energy is inevitable and accelerating; our aim is to navigate this shift in a manner that benefits everyone involved—smoothly, efficiently and rapidly.

The Freeport's role extends beyond traditional boundaries. We aim to be a hub of innovation, a facilitator of growth and a bridge between government policies and private sector ambitions. By harnessing our convening power and securing necessary funding streams, we can propel forward critical projects, especially in areas like floating offshore wind, where Wales has a unique edge.

To industry stakeholders and potential investors, my message is one of optimism and urgency: the change towards renewables is not just coming; it's already here. The Celtic Freeport is ready to lead this transition, ensuring that Wales not only keeps pace with these changes but sets the standard for innovation and sustainable growth.

With the right collaboration and strategic investment, we can achieve success, turning potential challenges into opportunities for economic development, job creation and environmental sustainability.

The future is green and in my role as CEO of the Celtic Freeport, I am fully committed to making this future a reality for Wales and beyond.


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