Ambitious plans to kick start the hydrogen economy and develop a low carbon energy hub around the proposed new power station at Sizewell C have been discussed at virtual events hosted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
Companies from Suffolk and Norfolk, who have registered their interest in becoming part of the supply chain to build the new nuclear power station, also heard about plans for decarbonising the construction phase of the plant and aspirations to make Leiston the UK’s first Net Zero town.
Steve Carroll, senior supply chain lead at Sizewell C, opened the webinars with an update on the project, explaining how it aligns with the Government’s energy white paper, ‘Powering Our Net Zero Future’, which was published in December.
The publication of the white paper coincided with another announcement from Government that it is ready enter into discussions about a funding model for Sizewell C.
Mr Carroll also reiterated the ambition to create 1,500 local apprenticeships and hundreds of well-paid jobs through the construction phase and onward life of the plant.
Talking about the wider initiatives and opportunities around Sizewell C, Joe Butler, financing analyst, told delegates that ‘Green Construction’ was high on the agenda, he said: “We want to work with suppliers to understand how the project can be as low carbon and sustainable as possible. We are keen to identify opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, from construction to transport and even the catering, understanding whether the food for the workforce could be grown locally.”
Mr Butler also outlined pioneering plans for a wider energy hub at Sizewell to contribute to UK’s net zero ambitions, including an initiative to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen economy, and a Direct Air Capture demonstration project, which would involve filtering ambient air to remove the carbon.
“We are keen to speak to local companies to help us shape and deliver these projects", he added.
Nigel Slinn, commercial director at Ipswich-based recycling firm Sackers was among the audience.
“I found the event to be both fascinating and exciting all at the same time,” he said. “The scale of the project and potential business that local companies such as ourselves could be involved in will give confidence to the business and indeed our staff for the future.”
Gareth Davies, supply chain engagement head at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said: “Suffolk Chamber remains committed to maximising the opportunities for local and regional companies at Sizewell C. This is just the start of our series of webinars and I would urge anyone wanting to understand more about the project, and how to get involved, to register on our database and tune in to hear not only about Sizewell C, but a whole array of low-carbon initiatives which will develop alongside the power plant.”
To register on the Supply Chain database, visit www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk.