The UK and Welsh Governments have approved the £58.7 million Swansea Bay City Deal’s Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme.
The programme’s aim is to help establish the Swansea Bay City Region as a leader in low carbon growth and the green economy.
Close collaboration with industry, government and academia is key to its success by delivering low carbon, sustainable and inclusive economic growth through creating the right environment to develop new technologies from the research stage, through to production, to support job creation in the region.
Led by Neath Port Talbot Council with Swansea University and University of South Wales as delivery partners, the programme aims to support the creation and safeguarding of 1,320 jobs in the green economy through seven interlinked projects that will enhance infrastructure, research and development and commercialisation:
- Bay Technology Centre – energy positive building providing high quality, flexible office and laboratory space
- South Wales Industrial Transition from Carbon Hub – purpose-built facility and specialist equipment to decarbonise the steel and metal industry and supply chain
- Advanced manufacturing production facility – providing production units with open access to shared specialist equipment to support start-up companies and local business growth in the innovation and manufacturing sectors linked to energy and renewables
- Property development fund – gap funding for bespoke and speculative commercial buildings in the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone area
- Hydrogen stimulus project – enabling a demonstrator to prove commercial viability of carbon-free hydrogen supply to fuel hydrogen vehicles
- Air quality monitoring project – test bed for new technology to establish a greater understanding of air quality and levels of pollution to inform local action planning
- Low emission vehicle charging infrastructure – developing a strategy to decarbonise journeys in the Swansea Bay City Region and develop a pilot in the Valleys area of Neath Port Talbot
The programme can commence drawing down on a £47.7 million City Deal investment from both governments to complement the £5.5 million already committed from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Neath Port Talbot Council and a further £5.5 million of private sector funding. The programme also aims to attract a further estimated £40 million of additional funds from the private and public sectors over the next 5 years.
The funding will provide solutions to decarbonise commercial and industrial buildings, transport and industrial processes that will support the policies and strategies laid out by the Welsh and UK governments.
Cllr Edward Latham, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, said: “The programme will focus on the Harbourside and Baglan Energy Park area of Port Talbot which complements Neath Port Talbot Council’s Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy Strategy (DARE), with wider regional and national impact through the development of products, services and a skilled workforce”.
James Davies, Industry Wales, said: “The programme of projects aims to transform industry and support the green industrial revolution. The focus on Research, Development and Innovation into energy and advanced materials fits well with the government’s agenda to decarbonise and with other initiatives such as the South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC). Industry Wales strongly advocates this ambitious and progressive programme of work that can help bring back and sustain green manufacturing in South West Wales through support for Start-ups, Small to Medium Enterprises and attract inward investment from outside the region.”
Welsh Government Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “As we emerge from the Covid crisis, we are determined to move Wales forward with an economic recovery designed to tackle the climate emergency head on. We will help businesses transition to a low carbon future that will deliver with a stronger, fairer and greener economy.”
The Swansea Bay City Deal is an investment of up to £1.3 billion in a portfolio of nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region, which are together worth over £1.8 billion and 9,000 jobs to the region’s economy in coming years.
Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.
The £8.5m Bay Technology Centre has been awarded £3.69m of EU funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government.
The project involves creating a 2,500m2 hybrid building. This will provide a range of flexible office space to support both start up and business growth companies, with a focus on the innovation and R&D sectors.
This is one of a number of projects within the Swansea Bay City Deal supported by the European Regional Development Fund including £14.9m EU funds awarded to four projects assisting the further development of the marine energy industry in Wales through the Pembroke Dock Marine programme:
o The Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE)
o Pembrokeshire Demonstration Zone – Consent and Development
o Pembroke Dock Building Adaptations
o Pembroke Dock Marine Access Infrastructure.