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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.

13 May 2024

The Strategic Role of the Celtic Freeport in the Energy Transition


GUEST COLUMN:

Andrew Harston

Strategic Advisor

ABP

I am continually inspired by the vast potential of the Celtic Freeport, a pioneering initiative that underscores our commitment to leading the energy transition.

ABP, as the owner and operator of Port Talbot's tidal harbour and land bank, formerly the old Port Talbot docks, and our collaboration with the Port of Milford Haven, form a robust foundation for this visionary project.

Our partnership, which includes these two pivotal Welsh ports alongside the local authorities of Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire County Councils, sets a strong precedent for the role of freeports in fostering sustainable economic development.

The Celtic Freeport is not just a regional endeavour, it's a strategic national asset aimed at changing the way we think about and engage with a renewable energy transition.

 

The focus on floating offshore wind (FLOW) technology at Port Talbot is central to this vision.

The port offers one of the few UK locations capable of handling the significant scale involved in manufacturing and preparing large floating wind units, platforms the size of a football pitch topped with turbines reminiscent of those dotting the Welsh landscape. This unique combination of capabilities positions Port Talbot as a crucial hub for assembling and launching these giants of renewable energy into the Celtic Sea.

This process is not just about energy production, it's about creating a sustainable ecosystem that can drive economic growth, foster innovation, and support community resilience.

Once operational, the turbines are connected to the shore, where they begin to feed power into the national grid. This integration is pivotal, not just in terms of energy output but also as a symbol of how traditional industries can pivot towards a sustainable future.

Our vision at the Celtic Freeport is deeply aligned with the global push for a greener economy.

By focusing on the production and deployment of FLOW units, we are not only leading in renewable energy but also setting the stage for Wales to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution. The benefits extend beyond environmental impact, creating high-quality jobs and stimulating the regional economy in Southwest Wales.

The role of Port Talbot and the broader Freeport initiative is clear. We are positioned to be a key player in the global market for floating offshore wind technology, with the capacity to influence how renewable energy is harnessed worldwide. Our commitment to this vision is unwavering, and our strategy is comprehensive.


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