Leading businesses operating in the Humber have presented a united front to a Government Minister calling for transformational investment enabling the region to lead the UK’s drive to net zero.

Members of the Humber Energy Board, MPs and council leaders met with Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, to push the case for game-changing investment to decarbonise the region and provide a huge stimulus to the economy.

The Humber Energy Board is the collaboration of private sector businesses and public sector organisations leading on the energy strategy for the region and behind the Humber 2030 Vision, which is a prospectus of major decarbonisation projects that represent a potential £15 billion investment in the Humber.

These include:

  • BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) at Drax Power Station, which would be the world’s largest engineered carbon removals project.
  • Humber Zero, a world-scale CO2 reduction project to support the decarbonisation of critical UK industry, involving post combustion carbon capture, led by Phillips 66 and VPI Immingham.
  • H2H Saltend, Zero Carbon Humber’s low carbon hydrogen production facility with carbon capture at Saltend Chemicals Park, one of a number of major hydrogen projects in the region.
  • Refinery of the Future – large-scale investment at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery, the only producer of speciality graphite coke used in lithium-ion batteries in Europe and the only UK refinery to make and supply sustainable aviation fuel at scale.

The Humber 2030 Vision details how, with Government support, these projects can establish the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster in the region by that year, stimulating unprecedented private sector investment and creating and retaining tens of thousands of jobs.

It also highlights why the Humber, as the UK’s largest carbon emitter, represents the country’s single biggest industrial decarbonisation opportunity.

Members of the Humber Energy Board, MPs from the north and south banks of the Humber and local council leaders made the case to Lord Callanan during a roundtable event at the Port of Immingham.

The event was chaired jointly by Richard Gwilliam, Chair of the Humber Energy Board and UK BECCS Programme Director at the renewable energy business Drax Group, and Hull North MP Dame Diana Johnson. It was attended by representatives from Humber Energy Board member companies Equinor, Harbour Energy, Humber Freeport, Phillips 66, Prax, RWE, SSE Thermal and Uniper.

Members of the board and the region’s MPs are focused on working with the Government to find a solution to unlocking the £15 billion investment in the Humber, as a strategically important national asset.

The business leaders stressed to Lord Callanan that decarbonising the region is critical for the development of the local and national economy, skills and job creation and retention, energy security, and for the Government to meet its target of the UK being net zero by 2050.

Mr Gwilliam said: “Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, compelling us to decarbonise our economy, develop energy resilience and invest in new green technologies.

“The Humber Energy Board is determined to make the Humber the world’s leading net zero industrial cluster. By working together under the shared banner of the Humber 2030 Vision, we’re ready to grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and deliver the UK’s green revolution.

“We have the platform, infrastructure and collective will to make this happen – but we need clarity and certainty from the Government, most urgently on pathways to deploy carbon capture and storage technologies.

“It’s essential we have a pipeline network to remove CO2 from traditionally carbon intensive industries like power generation, steelmaking, chemicals and refinery, and deliver hydrogen to enable the switch from fossil fuels at scale.

“The simple fact is that now is the time to deliver.”

The Humber’s ambitions received a setback in March this year when none of the region’s major decarbonisation projects were selected for investment in the Government’s Track One funding announcement.

Instead, successful projects were limited to the North West and North East. It meant the potential £15 billion investment by private sector companies in the Humber is effectively on hold, until the Government announces the level of support it will commit to.

The Humber Energy Board estimates as many as one in 10 jobs within the region can be retained with this investment. However, there are fears private funding will be lost overseas if the Government does not include significant financial support for Humber projects in the next round of funding. This is expected to be announced within weeks, potentially as part of the Autumn Statement on November 22.