Government must ‘pick winners’ by investing in low-carbon fuels

The Transport Committee has urged the UK government to change its approach towards backing specific technology solutions to decarbonise the UK’s transport sector, or risk failing its targets for cutting emissions.

The Government has set a number of targets to decarbonise different sections of the transport sector over the next 30 years. But the Department for Transport (DfT), United Kingdom has chosen to take a neutral stance on which technologies it believes industry should focus on developing, in order for those carbon-cutting targets to be achievable.

In its ‘Fuelling the Future’ report, published 2 March, the cross-party Committee makes recommendations on the following modes of transport, whilst also urging the Government to move beyond its “deliberately technology agnostic” mindset, as stated in its 2019 Technology Innovation Strategy.

In July 2019, the Government published its Clean Maritime Plan which committed to achieving zero-emission shipping by 2050. Progress with decarbonising Maritime is likely to be slower than other transport modes due to the wide variety of vessels in use throughout the world’s jurisdictions, meaning it will be challenging to reach an international consensus. And because ships often have a 30-year lifespan, it will take time to phase out vessels with obsolete technology.

The report recommends the Government should support the (IMO) International Maritime Organization work to develop global standards for construction that will enable new ships to utilise alternative fuels such as ammonia and hydrogen.

The UK should also use its influence at the IMO to ensure that, globally, the path forward for investors in alternative maritime fuels becomes more secure.

Ammonia could prove to be another effective alternative as it is zero emission at point of use, requires less storage space than hydrogen, and can be used with existing liquid natural gas infrastructure. Batteries are likely to prove too big, heavy and carbon intensive to produce to make them viable for long-distance freight shipping.

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Ireland Announces Approval of Brexit Marine Infrastructure Improvement

Following on from the announcement of a scheme to provide up to €35 mn to local authorities to rejuvenate Ireland’s public marine infrastructure, the Government of Ireland announced the approval of €32.7 mn in funding for 110 projects around the Irish coast which will fund projects worth over €40 million in total. The scheme is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

The Scheme arose from a recommendation of the Seafood Taskforce, set up in March 2021 to look at the impacts specifically on the fishing sector and coastal communities. The Taskforce recommended that the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) be used to fund rejuvenation of Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure specifically to address the economic consequences of Brexit arising from the implications to the Irish fishing industry. This investment is intended to help to drive economic diversification and will complement other measures such as Community Led Local Development via the Fisheries Local Action Groups.

One of the recipients are Dun Laoghaire Harbour who will receive €32.7m for berth fenders and related matters and €1,744M will be for East Pier Revetment Repairs.

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1st round of UK Seafood Fund Infrastructure Scheme is now open

The first round of the UK Seafood Fund Infrastructure Scheme is now open for applications until 12pm noon 23 May 2022.

£65m in funding is available for projects to benefit coastal communities and strengthen businesses. The support to infrastructure is critical for the seafood industry which supports so many of our coastal communities.

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Macquarie Group goes fishing in UK water dregs

Macquarie is poking around in murky British waters. The Australian bank’s infrastructure management arm has bought a majority stake in Southern Water for £1 bn as part of a recapitalisation that will dilute existing owners, including UBS Asset Management and Hermes Investment Group.

The company, which serves the counties of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire, recently paid a £90 m penalty, the sector’s biggest, for dumping sewage in rivers and off coasts. Macquarie is pledging to cut Southern’s debt, beef up governance, invest in new infrastructure and adopt a “zero tolerance” policy to pollution.

Macquarie is not paying a steep price, but it probably faces a long wait for a decent return.

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Contract for Uig Ferry Terminal Upgrade awarded

The Highland Council has announced that the contract for the upgrade of Uig Ferry Terminal on the Isle of Skye has been awarded to RJ McLeod (Contractors) Limited.

Uig Port is owned by The Highland Council and working closely with Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets, CalMac Ferries Limited and Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, the ferry terminal will be upgraded with new infrastructure which will improve the ferry service provision at Uig and provide a safer enhanced experience for all ferry and harbour users both now and into the future. This forms a key part of the Skye Triangle upgrade with works ongoing at Tarbert and Lochmaddy.

Construction work is expected to begin in September 2021 and it is thought the work will be completed in summer 2023.

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Waste that travels along the River Thames will provide warmth to 21,000 London homes

Cory Environmental have been awarded £12.1 m through the Government’s £320 m Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP). The £1.6 million commercialisation grant and £10.5 million construction loan will support the development of one of the UK’s largest heat networks, delivered by Vattenfall, to supply low carbon heat to a total of 21,000 homes.

Cory’s existing Riverside energy from waste (EfW) facility will provide heat for up to 10,500 homes in Bexley in the first phase of the proposed heat network.

A second EfW facility – adjacent to the existing one and part of Cory’s Riverside Energy Park which received planning permission from the Government in April 2020 – will supply an additional 10,500 homes.

Serving a combined 21,000 homes, the heat network will be among the largest in the UK exemplifying the type of ambition needed as the UK transitions to net zero.

Cory currently uses the River Thames to transport waste from the centre of London to its EfW facility on its fleet of tugs and barges, removing around 100,000 truck journeys a year from its congested roads. The completion of the Riverside Energy Park, which will be fully operational by 2025, will remove additional truck journeys, further reducing the capital’s reliance on landfill and delivering environmental and safety benefits. The waste that travels along the River Thames will serve the heat network.

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Welsh Net Zero Centre Launched

RWE has launched the Pembroke Net Zero Centre (PNZC) as a major initiative towards decarbonisation.

With Pembroke Power Station located at its heart, the PNZC will draw on extensive knowledge and expertise to demonstrate a pathway towards decarbonisation.

RWE is already Wales’ largest power generator from both gas and renewables, with 12 sites that include onshore and offshore wind and hydro.

The PNZC will work with hundreds of RWE experts across domestic and international businesses in generation, renewables and trading, looking at the deployment of state-of-the-art technologies to help decarbonise the region and support Wales’ roadmap to Net Zero by 2050.

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