North West Net Zero: The road to COP26.

It was good to participate in the net zero event today North West Net Zero: The road to COP26.

I was there to hear what Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram, North Electricity North West, Cadent and a whole host of high-profile stakeholders, had to say about the net zero opportunity reflected in Cop 26 climate change meeting to be held in Glasgow later this year.

The meeting explored how our region, the Northwest, can gain maximum from the net zero agenda.

Manchester has pledged to be net zero by 2038. See my article with Liverpool for 2040.

Indeed, Mayor Andy Burnham is pushing the whole North region was West region to align with the 2040 figure.

The Northwest was the home of the Industrial Revolution. She can rightly claim to be the founder of the modern world. It would be neat. If the same region was to be at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, with its net zero agenda, all the pieces of the jigsaw appear to be fitting together.

Last week The Crown Estate announced over three gigawatts of offshore wind in the round for leasing round. These are likely to be built up by oil and gas majors in the Irish Sea. Another megaproject in the form of tidal barrier is also being proposed across the Mersey, a resurrection of a long-standing scheme which may be more viable going forward and which may be linked to the production of green hydrogen in future.

Such opportunities represent many billions of pounds of investment in the green economy in the northwest and North Wales region. On top of that, the Northwest region is working on the hynet hydrogen cluster centred around the town of Ellesmere port in Cheshire. Project Protos (see image below) is leading the way.

Nearby conurbations of Manchester and Liverpool hope to benefit from the hydrogen availability, perhaps to heat homes, perhaps to power business, and perhaps to help decarbonize sectors such as transport.

The hynet vision is being developed by people like cadent, the universities, the electrical bodies and people like myself who are helping with the education and awareness piece, Hynet, with a transition to an initial injection of 20% hydrogen into the gas network, perhaps being upped to 100% in future could become a template for other regions and global leader.

All the factors that make the Northwest so attractive can be serviced from hynet. We have ports in Liverpool Manchester and in North Wales. We have a big manufacturing centre based around the same cities we have non electrified railways, major industrial centres including Birchwood, Trafford park and many more throughout the northwest of England which will benefit from decarbonisation.

An oft forgotten part of bigger picture is the opportunity to retrofit older buildings to ensure they become fit for the future, and perhaps this is where the majority of jobs might lie skilled jobs green jobs to help the North West and indeed the wider UK economy.

The UK pledges to lead but obviously practical steps need to be taken. The North west does stand at the forefront of the next Industrial Revolution round for leasing rounds, our agreed, hynet is extremely well placed and with buying from Greater Manchester from Liverpool and perhaps the wider Northwest.

Mayor Burnham, dubbed ‘the king of the north’ in some quarters in recent months says he wishes to create a movement in support of climate change. I’m doing my bit supporting the nascent hydrogen economy with both technical advice and training, following a clarion call for action almost two years ago – it seems longer – and another world at the centre of the world’s first industrial city. zero-carbon-manchester-and-how-to-get-there-by-2038

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There is no reason why the region can’t be at the very forefront of the net zero on hydrogen economists and give the young people who are suffering the effects of COVID, a future with skilled jobs which can be taken to the rest of the world once the north west again shows the way forwards.

The trailblazing ‘Protos’ energy hub:

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Interested? Andy Burnham is calling for a ‘movement’ so why not join me at the Northern Powerhouse: Offshore Wind and Hydrogen Professionals Group where I’ll keep you informed.

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