Wales and West Utilities recently revealed the first steps which have been planned for their future network planning strategy. This strategy encompasses their ambitions for industrial decarbonisation and the first stage to be completed is to determine if the pre-existing infrastructure in North Wales would be suitable for hydrogen transportation.
Both parties are hoping that a new network could be in the process of being implemented by the early 2030s, which will ultimately support the companies aims for industrial decarbonisation. Therefore, determining if the North Wales infrastructure, which would be available to them, would have the capabilities for transporting hydrogen, is an integral part to the formation of this project. The parties have created a partnership with Apollo Engineering who will carry out the feasibility study and produce a detailed assessment of what adjustments and new infrastructure would be needed in order to improve hydrogen opportunities in Wrexham and Deeside to make this project possible. These improvements will include links with companies such as HyNet, due to the work they are doing around developing core hydrogen and carbon dioxide pipeline infrastructure within the hydrogen cluster, located in the North West. These links are essential to the project as they will connect it to North Wales.
As well as this study and planning, Wales and West Utilities will also carry out supply and demand scenarios in order to understand how much of the existing hydrogen they would need to supply to industrial companies before 2030. Plus deciding how much hydrogen would need to be supplied to domestic customers after 2030. One advantage of this project that will benefit consumers and industries is that the project will create the options for exploring different methods of implementing industrial cost-sharing ‘infill’ schemes. This would present customers with the ability to share the cost of the hydrogen network, whilst also reducing the cost of hydrogen production for industries. The study will also build on data from Wales and West Utilities’ Regional Decarbonisation Pathways, along with the Government’s Industrial Fuel Switching programme.
The Head of Net Zero and Sustainability, Matt Hindle commented, “The 2020s must be a decade of delivery. Hydrogen will be vital to decarbonise industry, retaining jobs and developing new low carbon opportunities. We’re delighted to be launching this project with support from a range partners in industry, in line with the UK government’s Net Zero plans. Our hydrogen plans will build on Wales’s industrial heritage and kick-start the Green Industrial Revolution within the North East Wales cluster, to create a trusted, sustainable, prosperous and resilient industry that the citizens of Wales can continue to be proud of.”
This project is one of many underway between 2022/23 for Wales and West Utilities, who are currently working on 19 new projects and have another 38 lined up for the rest of 2023 and continuing into 2024. The current projects are being funded with a £2.2m investment, £1.5m of which has been provided by the Network Innovation Allowance.