Expert team appointed as £30bn plan to create UK’s first zero carbon cluster in the North West moves forward

Clare Hayward MBE, chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said: "Industrial decarbonisation is relevant to all industries which is why our zero carbon ambitions are so important."

Experts have been appointed to establish an organization to oversee clean energy projects aimed at making the North West and North Wales the UK’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040.

A £30bn plan for the North West and North Wales to be home to the UK’s first net zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040 has taken a step closer – with the unveiling of a team of experts enlisted to help set up a new body to deliver the trailblazing blueprint.

Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and Net Zero North West are among key partners behind the government-funded North West Net Zero Industrial Cluster plan, which centres around a £30bn pipeline of clean energy projects to unlock billions in investment and remove over 40 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year, as well as creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs.

Projects previously cited to meet the cluster plan’s 2040 zero carbon target range from HyNet North West – a hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) scheme to the multibillion-pound Mersey Tidal scheme.

Cheshire and Warrington LEP has been working in partnership with industry-led consortium Net Zero North West and wider industry representatives, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, The Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre and the North West Net Zero Hub to take the cluster plan forward.

Today the LEP confirmed it has appointed two decarbonisation and industry experts – Opergy and Caielle Ltd – with the task of working with industry to put in place the organisational arrangements required to deliver the cluster plan on behalf of partners across the North West and North Wales.

Opergy is one of the UK’s leading clean energy consultancies, with a wealth of experience working with both public companies and private sector organisations to support development and delivery of energy, clean technology, and net zero projects.

Caielle Ltd led by Jane Gaston who has more than 20 years of experience working across the public and private sector. Her previous roles include being responsible for the transformation of Peel Natural Resources and Energy’s flagship low carbon cluster, Protos near Ellesmere Port, and Project Lead overseeing the delivery of the Net Zero North West Cluster Plan.

The appointments have been funded jointly by the LEP – using funding provided by the North West Net Zero Hub – and Net Zero North West.

Clare Hayward MBE, chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“Industrial decarbonisation is relevant to all industries which is why our zero carbon ambitions are so important. The North West has the highest concentration of advanced manufacturing and chemicals production sites in the UK – many here in Cheshire and Warrington.

“So I am delighted that in Caielle Ltd and Opergy we have appointed specialists to take the cluster plan forward and help establish the body to oversee world-leading clean growth projects to deliver the UK’s first zero carbon cluster by 2040. This comes amid our unflinching ambitions that the region is home to a growing, sustainable, healthy and inclusive economy.”

Johnathan Reynolds, Managing Director of Opergy said:

“Collaboration and decisive action are pivotal in achieving ambitious decarbonisation goals. We’re thrilled to contribute our expertise to delivering the North West Cluster plan, working alongside industry partners to pave the way for a sustainable clean energy future. Our commitment aligns with the region’s vision for a thriving, inclusive economy built on zero carbon principles.”

Jane Gaston, Director at Caielle Ltd said:

“Having led the project team that delivered the original NZNW cluster plan project I know first-hand both the scale of the opportunity that exists in the North West and North Wales, and the level of work that has already been undertaken to understand the pipeline of projects which industry can deploy to decarbonise.

“To be working alongside Opergy to develop the future business model to allow this to become a reality is hugely exciting and demonstrates the absolute commitment there is to securing the future of industry and the wider economic prosperity it will bring for the region.”

The new body will be responsible for everything from coordinating the cluster to attracting investment and setting policies as well as brokering relationships with national government across private, public, and academic partners.

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