The Corporate Director Communities presented a report updating Cabinet on discussions on the opportunity to develop a Hydrogen Demonstrator Project in Wales providing local green hydrogen that supported decarbonisation of the Council’s assets and the wider region.
The Corporate Director Communities outlined the background. In 2021, Welsh Government (WG) were approached by the Japanese Consortium Marubeni, global specialist in renewables and hydrogen projects, to ask if they were interested in an investment opportunity for a Hydrogen
Demonstrator Project in Wales. The Japanese Government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) pledged some £13m to co-fund Hydrogen Power Demonstrators Projects with the Marubeni Corporation in the UK. The key to this project was the supply of Green Hydrogen power for heat and transportation using green energy sources. Bridgend was chosen as the most appropriate location and potential investment partner.
The Corporate Director Communities outlined progress made so far and explained that the project would potentially bring a total of £26 million external investment funds into the borough through the NEDO (£13M) and Marubeni (£13M) that would develop a unique local energy and management system providing green low-cost energy and heat. The Cardiff Capital Region had in principle agreed to consider the opportunity for investment on receipt of a detailed proposal and were engaged with the project. WG, having introduced the opportunity, were also keen to see the project to fruition and to support its development. A draft Memorandum of Understanding was being prepared which set out a non legally binding commitment to cooperate in good faith and the framework under which BCBC and Marubeni Corporation would closely collaborate during any development stage. Funding would need to be determined during this period and a report would be submitted back to Cabinet.
The Cabinet Member for Communities added that these were exciting times with a £26 million investment and unknow opportunities and a chance to lead the way.
The Cabinet Member for Resources supported the project and added that this would put BCBC in a good position to reduce its carbon footprint. He asked that his thanks to the previous Cabinet Member and the Leader, be recorded for building relationships to help win this project.
The Leader also paid tribute to the efforts and the work of the previous Cabinet Member, Cllr Young who was a very enthusiastic and passionate champion for the pioneering work undertaken with partners. It was important to note that WG were very supportive of work undertaken so far and the work that would be undertaken in the future. This was crucial because they could provide funding to progress the scheme. They would look at ways of briefing all Members and provide detailed briefings for local members when sites were identified.
· Noted the progress to develop; Bridgend Net Zero Carbon – Hydrogen Demonstrator Project
· Delegated authority to the Corporate Director of Communities, in consultation with the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change and Chief Officer - Legal and Regulatory Services, Human Resources and Corporate Policy, to work with the
Marubeni Corporation to develop the Hydrogen Demonstrator Project and to negotiate the terms of the MoU and enter into the document.
· Delegated authority to the Corporate Director of Communities, in consultation with the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change and Chief Officer - Legal and Regulatory Services, Human Resources and Corporate Policy, to commission
specialist advice utilising resources that will be made available from the Communities Directorate Earmarked Reserve (EMR) 2022-23 for implementing Bridgend 2030 Decarbonisation Strategy from the Communities Directorate budget as required and to report back to Cabinet on the full project proposal.
Noted that a further report shall be received following the end of the MoU period to consider detailed viability of the project.