Simon Bird, Regional Director, shares his opinion on the work being done in the Humber ports.
Recently Business Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma visited Hull to launch the Oh Yes! Net Zero Campaign in the city. The fact that such a senior figure in the effort to tackle climate change attended the launch helps to underline what many have known for a while: that the Humber is the place to be when looking for inspiration on how to decarbonise our economy.
I am delighted to say that ABP’s ports in the Humber are very much at the centre of this exciting trend.
For some years now, ABP in the Humber have been getting our own house in order on environmental matters. We have created the two largest roof-mounted solar power facilities in the UK in the ports of Immingham and Hull and we are in the process of a major installation of EV charging points for cars across the port estate. New cranes and mobile plant are at the cutting edge of efficiency and low emissions.
The Humber is currently the epicentre of offshore wind activity for the whole World. The Siemens Gamesa wind blade manufacturing facility in Green Port Hull has gone from strength to strength since opening its doors in 2017 and is currently going through a major expansion. This expansion is to accommodate the larger blades that are needed as the industry increases in scale all the time. Meanwhile, across the water in the Port of Grimsby, companies like Orsted and RWE have made the port the biggest hub for the operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms anywhere on the planet. All of this work has brought in new and skilled jobs to the area and has shown how fantastically placed the Humber is to service this growing industry.
Alongside these terrific efforts, a number of our other customers are involved in exciting projects to lead the way in decarbonisation. A great example of this is Zero Carbon Humber. The project is a partnership of many of ABP’s customers in the Humber, including British Steel, Drax, Equinor, PX Group, Centrica and Uniper who have come together with a shared vision to transform the Humber into the UK’s first net zero carbon cluster by 2040, which is 10 years earlier than the Government’s published goal. Given that the Humber is currently the largest carbon polluting region in the UK, the scale of the ambition is palpable.
The project will develop a shared trans-regional pipeline out to the North Sea for low carbon hydrogen and for capturing and storing carbon emissions. This will help to establish a carbon storage economy on a truly transformative scale, and potentially create up 49,000 jobs.
The Humber Freeport which I chair has also set itself the vision to be a leading player in decarbonisation. The new entity, once it is up and running, will actively support investment from businesses into the Humber that will seek to decarbonise and will be a major catalyst to drive investment across our region.
What is especially exciting, is that it is the Humber Ports that are the one thing all of these projects have in common. The ports, which in the past enabled industries that were highly polluting, are now a service enabler for some of the most pioneering work to reduce our environmental impact and create green jobs for the future.