The Solent Cluster heads for Westminster to launch landmark report on region’s low-carbon future

Lord Callanan, minister for energy efficiency and green finance, discusses the report. Credit: David Sheales.

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: February 22, 2024 | Updated: 22nd February 2024

Government ministers and MPs from across the Solent met in London this week for the launch of a report commissioned by The Solent Cluster, the region’s decarbonisation partnership.

The report highlights the potential community benefits from key decarbonisation projects in the region, while revealing that The Solent Cluster could be a catalyst for sustainable growth.

The Solent Cluster logoOne of the cluster’s priorities is to support the development of a highly skilled talent base and to help people at all stages of their careers acquire the skills needed to keep up with new technologies.

After all, it’s estimated that decarbonisation projects in the Solent could help sustain 70,000 direct and indirect jobs between 2023 and 2035, of which around 18,900 would be newly created skilled jobs.

It was this that The Solent Cluster put forward to Westminster audiences at this week’s event, organised by the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and hosted by Alex Cunningham MP.

Alex Cunningham MPHe said: “Carbon capture and storage will play a critical role in our reaching net zero, and so I very much welcome the launch of this report highlighting the contribution, benefits and opportunities it could bring to the Solent and beyond.

“We’ve made some progress in recent times, but the government must accelerate its decision making around these projects and give the green light to investors across the country who are keen to get on with the job and deliver.”

The report also reveals the major economic potential of the Solent, with the six ‘anchor projects’ put forward by The Solent Cluster potentially securing a combined £11.9 billion investment towards decarbonisation.

Among those projects are plans to produce significant volumes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to be sent to Heathrow and Gatwick through the country’s existing pipeline network.

Penny MordauntPenny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: “This report confirms the huge opportunity that decarbonising the Solent offers, from the creation of new, skilled jobs to supporting key national industries like aviation and shipping on their own journeys to net zero.

“It’s crucial we get these key foundation projects up and running as soon as possible.”

Anne-Marie MountifieldAnne-Marie Mountifield, chair of The Solent Cluster, added: “Our vision is for the Solent to become a world-leading centre for low-carbon investment, catalysing the growth of the regional economy and beyond.

“Through the deployment of critical technologies, we aim to create new opportunities for green jobs and position our region as a talent hub for next-generation technical skills.

“The Solent has a unique potential to accelerate net zero ambition by transforming energy production and consumption.

“Our anchor projects could not only strengthen energy resilience but also create a low carbon economy, boost economic growth, and contribute to the expansion of the regional employment market.”

James and Niall, Co-Founders of NovaturaTo get the best of Hampshire Biz News straight to your inbox every week, sign up for our newsletter!

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