Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen welcomed the ambitious plan to develop a new multi-million-pound net-zero power plant in the area, which will support more than 2,000 construction jobs.

US clean energy innovation company 8 Rivers Capital and Sembcorp Energy UK will jointly develop a new plant at Sembcorp’s Wilton International plant in Redcar, called the Whitetail Clean Energy Project.

Once this state-of-the-art power plant is put into operation, it will generate 300 megawatts of clean, efficient and low-cost electricity, potentially expanding in the future. Thanks to Wilton International’s ports and pipeline channels, all the carbon dioxide from the plant can be captured and transported under the North Sea, where it will be permanently stored.

During construction, the plant is expected to support more than 2,000 direct and derivative jobs, including many opportunities in the region’s supply chain. It may be put into use as early as 2025. Once it is up and running, it is expected to create up to 200 jobs and support the retraining of engineers to provide them with the skills needed to operate the project.

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “This is yet another huge boost for Teesside and will see more good-quality, well-paid jobs created first in construction and then the innovative clean energy sector. Sembcorp Energy UK, with their Wilton International site, is an incredible business in our area.

Whether it’s carbon capture, hydrogen or renewables, Teesside is already leading the way for the rest of the UK to follow and championing these new technologies. This project complements what we’re doing on the Teesworks site to make Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool an energy powerhouse in this field. We’re only going to continue to capitalise on new opportunities as the Teesside Freeport gets up and running, bringing with it more investment and jobs.”

On a site that forms part of the Teesside Freeport, the project joins several clean energy and renewable initiatives currently underway in the region.

Last week, Bernard Looney, the global CEO of energy company bp, visited the area, witnessed the Net Zero Teesside website and checked progress. The power plant aims to be operational within the next five years and plans to capture up to 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. This year, the company also announced H2 Teesside; its goal is to produce 1GW of hydrogen by 2030 and store the resulting carbon dioxide at sea through the Northern Endurance Partnership’s offshore infrastructure.

Subject to regulatory support and if finalised, the agreement signed by 8 Rivers and Sembcorp will provide another asset working towards decarbonisation in Teesside.

Andy Koss, CEO of UK & Middle East, Sembcorp Industries, said: “Helping to bring this first-of-a-kind carbon capture technology to Teesside is part of Sembcorp Energy UK’s commitment to reducing the carbon emissions of its power generation assets at Wilton International and to be a leading provider of sustainable solutions. We look forward to working closely with 8 Rivers to boost further the region’s support of the energy transition to Net-Zero. We are determined to play our part in helping the UK move towards more sustainable solutions for a low-carbon economy while fulfilling our global strategic ambition to transform our portfolio towards a greener future.”

Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is about bringing the industries of the future to our area which will provide the high-quality jobs the people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve for years to come. It is excellent news to show that first-rate companies are prepared to invest in our region and congratulate everyone involved.”

Source: Built Environment Networking