Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed a £4.8m investment in a first of its kind hydrogen hub in Anglesey in his Budget speech on Wednesday.
The pilot facility is intended to pioneer the production and distribution of hydrogen made from renewable energy. The green fuel will be used initially in HGVs, helping to decarbonise the high emission commercial transport sector.
The project is expected to create up to 30 high skilled jobs initially and could indirectly support another 500 jobs if it attracts expected investment to the island. It is expected to be operational by 2023.
Ynys Mon MP Virginia Crosbie has campaigned long and hard for this investment to be brought to Anglesey. Responding to the announcement, she said:
“I was elected on a promise to bring jobs and investment to an island hungry to be part of the green revolution this government is committed to and this is a major step forward.
“This is just the type of investment we need after years of decline and it shows that Anglesey can be right at the cutting edge of new industries going forward.”
“The hope is that this island can play a big role in the UK’s ambition to be net carbon neutral by 2050. The work now starts to make sure the business case is the best it can be to make secure the investment and the jobs. I will work with everyone to make sure this happens.”
The investment is subject to business case approval. The hub will be developed by social enterprise Menter Mon in partnership with Anglesey County Council, and supported by Scottish clean energy firm Logan Energy, which will lead a consortium of local businesses.
Holyhead is the second largest roll-on/roll-off ferry port in the UK with 500,000 annual HGV movements before Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s hoped the development of the hydrogen hub will also help unleash the potential of Anglesey’s renewable energy resources, including the Morlais tidal energy scheme off the coast of Holy Island.
Dafydd Gruffydd, managing director of Menter Mon, said:
“Our aim as we develop the site is to ensure Anglesey and the wider North Wales region are in a strong position to play a key part in this sector which offers so many opportunities in terms of jobs, skills development and the supply chain.”
He added: “The benefits of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel for transportation, a long-term energy store as well as for heating homes have long been known. And now faced with the prospect of ensuring a green recovery post-pandemic, I believe the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub can play a key part.
“With the increasing focus on decarbonisation the aim will be to create green energy from Morlais, our own tidal stream energy project off the coast of Holy Island.”