Hydrogen Demonstrator project could bring an investment of £26 million into Bridgend County Borough

copyright Lisa Baker 2021

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet were presented with an update on the Hydrogen Demonstrator project and were told the plan could bring an investment of £26 million into the county borough.

The proposed project means Bridgend would have the opportunity to demonstrate its leadership in green technology advancement.

It was previously announced that Japanese renewable energy specialists Marubeni Europower had selected Bridgend County Borough as its preferred UK location for a green hydrogen demonstrator project, which could see plans such as generating clean fuel for fleet vehicles ranging from council gritters to recycling and refuse collection lorries.

The project could also provide potential benefits for other Local Authorities in South Wales, in addition to public sector partners such as the South Wales Police and Welsh Ambulance Service.

The plan could potentially bring a total of £26 million of external investment funds into the borough, with £13million coming from Marubeni and £13million from the Japanese Government’s New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO). This will help to develop a unique local energy and management system providing green low-cost energy and heat.

The Cardiff Capital Region have also in principle agreed to consider the opportunity for investment on receipt of a detailed proposal and are engaged with the project. Welsh Government, having introduced the opportunity, are also keen to see the project to fruition and are willing to support its development.

In order to move the detailed development of this project forward, Bridgend County Borough Council will be signing a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the Marubeni Corporation.

Cllr John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: This is a fantastic opportunity for Bridgend County Borough to be a real leader in the field of green technology advancement and it’s great that the project will help to bring some significant external funding to the area.

“We are looking forward to working further with Marubeni and hope this plan can bring many benefits to not only Bridgend County Borough but Wales as a whole. This also reiterates our commitment to the Bridgend 2030 Net Zero Carbon strategy.”

Electric vehicle charging points set for rollout

Work is set to commence on the first installations of new electric vehicle charging points across Bridgend County Borough.

The installations, which have been funded through the Welsh Government’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) Transformation fund and the Cardiff Capital Region will see charging points installed at the following locations:

  • Brackla Street surface, Bridgend town centre
  • Pencoed Railway Station Park & Ride Car Park
  • Tremains Road Car Park, Bridgend town centre
  • Neath Road, Heol Ty Gwyn, Maesteg
  • Hillsboro Place Car Park, Porthcawl
  • Eastern Promenade, Porthcawl
  • The Rhiw Multi-Storey Car Park, Bridgend
  • Maesteg Car Park, Llynfi Road, Maesteg
  • The Esplanade, Porthcawl Seafront, Porthcawl
  • Tondu Road Car Park, Lewis Avenue, Bridgend town centre
  • Sarn Station Park and Ride, Heol Persondy, Sarn

This rollout is part of a regional project supporting users of electric cars and vans in Wales to access vehicle charging points in public car parks.

The first installations in the county borough are expected to be operational by September 2022.

Cllr John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “These additional charging points will play a key part in decarbonising transport and support the shift towards cleaner vehicles. To enable drivers to make the switch from older, more polluting vehicles to electric, they need to be confident that plugging in will be convenient and hassle free.

“With the demand for charging points expected to increase significantly in coming years, we are pleased to start the installations across the county borough. Ensuring everyone has easy access to these charging points will help support our decarbonisation plans.

“We are also finalising plans for installations in other car parks in the county borough, including Garw and Ogmore Life Centres and Ynysawdre, Pencoed and Pyle swimming pools.”

In addition, the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal has been awarded significant funding for on-street charging and electric taxi fleet and working together with councils on carpark chargers. The county borough has also been allocated six electric taxis which will be made available on a ‘try before you buy’ basis for current taxi fleet operators.

 A further £300,000 of funding is available to the local authority through a Welsh Local Government ULEV grant. The funding supports the local authority’s commitment to provide a phased plan for the electrification of all council fleets and depots by 2030, as part of its Net Zero Carbon commitments.

The funding can be used to upgrade power systems and the digital support needed as well as the chargers.

It is also likely that further funding will be made available to continue to support the public sector and communities to transition ultra-low emission vehicles.