Whether delivering net zero or the requirement to recover from COVID-19 and take advantage of the new opportunities provided by Brexit, one thing is sure, as we build back better and greener, we have the vision in place to deliver the UK and Welsh Governments' demands for an accelerated pace of delivery, and at scale.
In the first 60 years of its existence, the Port of Milford Haven successfully handled the emergence of two national energy revolutions and has been a major driver of economic activity. Today, the Port is a core component of the UK’s energy network supplying a fifth of the UK’s energy needs and supporting around 5,000 jobs in the maritime, renewables and engineering sectors, as well as many more in the supply chain. Now well into its seventh decade, this ‘energy capital’ is gearing up for a third revolution – low carbon energy – through a dedicated clean energy cluster.
Over the coming quarter of a century, our vision for the Milford Haven Waterway is that it will play a vital national role in driving new green growth in hydrogen, floating offshore wind (FLOW) and marine energy generation, offering significant regeneration benefits, and levelling up this coastal region through the creation of fresh high-quality employment and careers for future generations. The successful delivery of this vision will be just as important for the country, particularly for UK energy security as coal and other fossil fuels are phased out, as it will be for Pembrokeshire, an area with an aging population, an over reliance on a limited number of sectors to generate jobs and the highest levels of child poverty in Wales.
We note the UK Government target of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, alongside an aim of delivering 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for use across the economy.
We also note in March 2021, the Welsh Government approved a Net Zero target for 2050 which is a step up on previous targets. Wales has interim targets for 2030 (a 63% reduction v 1990) and 2040 (89% reduction v 1990). The targets and carbon budgets form Wales' statutory framework and they include Wales' share of emissions from international aviation and shipping.
By December 2018, Wales' emissions had fallen by 31% compared to 1990. Wales also has a target to ensure 70% of its electricity consumption is sourced from renewable energy by 2030. Renewable electricity generation is now equal to 51% of electricity consumption in Wales – a significant contributor to this success is onshore and offshore wind.
Navigating the Future
Pembroke Dock Marine - Wales' Clean Energy Centre
The Port of Milford Haven – guardians of the Milford Haven Waterway – is moving forward with its collaborative City Deal-backed Pembroke Dock Marine project to create a world-class base for marine renewable energy such as offshore floating wind, wave, and tidal generation.
Wales' clean energy cluster will play a key role in supporting the country’s transition to Net Zero and help drive up UK content in the supply chains for the offshore power generation from the Celtic Sea.
This collaborative platform has already attracted companies from across the globe who are spearheading new research, development, and manufacturing in marine energy power generation, with an appetite to do much more. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the UK’s leading technology, innovation and research centre for renewable offshore energy, has also demonstrated its confidence in the area’s potential with the development of a multi-million pound Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence based at Pembroke Dock.
There is enormous potential for much larger-scale development on the Milford Haven Waterway associated with renewable energy. Building upon its internationally renowned marine and terminal infrastructure assets, natural capital and skills base, and through meaningful collaboration across private and public sectors, it is conceivable that the Milford Haven Waterway can make a substantial contribution to securing the country’s economic recovery and to tackling the climate crisis.
Sustainable Hospitality & Tourism
Milford Waterfront - a unique destination in the heart of Pembrokeshire
If ever there was an exemplar for sustainable development, it is here in Pembrokeshire. The area has maintained its environmental qualities – with much of the Haven Waterway designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest – and so in tandem with the growth of industry on the Milford Haven Waterway, the area has grown in popularity as a destination of choice for tourists. The Port of Milford Haven is playing its part to add to this national draw through its multi-million-pound Milford Waterfront development, which is creating a vibrant and exciting new visitor destination within Pembrokeshire, with sustainability at its heart. Milford Waterfront is currently a Welsh Government Zero Carbon Demonstrator Area, with an ambition to become a Zero Carbon Zone.
In the aftermath of Covid-19 and in the shadow of its resurgence, Pembrokeshire faces an unprecedented level of economic uncertainty. Further development of Milford Waterfront and at other sites across Pembrokeshire is a fundamental element of the Port’s long-term strategy. A joined up collaborative approach with local and national partners will ensure we can exploit the opportunities presented by the growth in ‘blue tourism’ and deliver further high quality, long-term tourism and hospitality employment in the county.
A green industrial revolution
The Port of Milford Haven is the UK’s largest energy port and the biggest port in Wales, facilitating the majority of the country’s trade in oil and gas through its deep-water operations. Existing high capacity oil and gas pipelines and electricity connections transport energy from here to all parts of the UK. The area’s maritime and energy infrastructure, together with the presence of existing brownfield sites, is what has attracted billions of pounds of inward investment over the last 60 years and why today’s energy cluster – including Valero, South Hook LNG, Dragon LNG, Puma Energy and RWE – exists. This cluster is of strategic importance to the UK, particularly in terms of energy security, and supports over 5,000 Welsh jobs and £400m of GVA.
The Milford Haven Waterway is pivotal to the nation’s future. With sustainability identified as one of its core values, the Port has committed to make substantial investments over the next five years to support and grow the clean energy cluster around the Haven.
To get to Net Zero, the UK must treble renewable electricity generation (from 120TWH to 360 TWH), drive up the use of renewable gases – such as hydrogen (potentially 50 TWH compared to less than 1TWH today) – and deliver a step-change in energy storage to cover periods of peak demand and massive winter requirements when there is insufficient renewable energy available. The UK is already a world leader in offshore wind with a target of 40GW deployed by 2030. To deliver this, the development of the Celtic Sea will intensify, with an initial target of 1GW for floating offshore wind (FLOW).
The development of a new clean energy centre at Pembroke Port, delivered by the Pembroke Dock Marine, is expected to generate £73.5m a year in the regional economy and create more than 1,800 jobs in the next 15 years. This public/private sector collaboration has paved the way for Pembrokeshire to have a stake in the renewable energy market, laying a strong foundation for other opportunities There is huge potential for Pembrokeshire to build on this success. With additional investment in infrastructure, Pembrokeshire’s proximity to Celtic Sea generation sites (c45km), deep-water, heavy engineering cluster, energy transmission and distribution in situ and a growing globally renowned business cluster backed by R&D all point positively towards massive potential for growth. With the right government support, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult identified that 3,000 jobs and £682m in supply chain opportunities for Wales and Cornwall over the next ten years from FLOW. The Port of Milford Haven is keen to collaborate with developers and Governments to realise this market opportunity.
With a potential generating capacity of 50GW and given the target of 60% UK content in offshore wind projects through more stringent requirements for supply chains in future Contract for Difference auctions, more UK and Welsh government support is needed to make sure we create a lasting high-value legacy from the fledgling FLOW industry. Otherwise, content and capital will go abroad to competitors in Ireland or continental Europe.
The energy majors are also seeing the Milford Haven Waterway as a focal point for decarbonisation technologies. For example, in May 2021, RWE launched the Pembroke Net Zero Centre to maximise the potential of hydrogen, floating offshore wind and carbon capture to help decarbonise industry in Wales. As one of Europe’s biggest renewable energy players, this is a major endorsement for Pembrokeshire.
We are working with the South Wales Industrial Cluster (Costain, Associated British Ports, Capital Law Ltd, CR Plus Ltd, Industry Wales, Lanza Tech, Lightsource bp, Progressive Energy, RWE, Shell, SIMEC Atlantis Energy, Tata Steel, Tarmac, University of South Wales, Valero, and Wales & West Utilities), the Celtic Sea Alliance, Marine Energy Wales, Total and Simply Blue Energy to:
- realise 1GW of electricity generation deployment in the Celtic Sea
- ensure over 60% of the value delivered from Welsh and UK content, and
- maximize the socio-economic benefits for Pembrokeshire and the Swansea Bay City Region.
A clear economic strategy for ports in Wales
Whether it is utilising freeports or other economic policy tools - through a blend of fiscal and planning easements - to make it easier to invest, operate and employ, what is important is a clear strategy and action plan for the ports in Wales that generates just and inclusive business growth Ports play a vital role in local communities and can provide huge catalytic opportunities for regions to recover and grow.
For the Port of Milford Haven, a freeport covering the logistics, energy and heavy engineering operations along the Milford Haven Waterway would complement the Port’s existing inward investment and diversification strategies and would build upon our deeply collaborative approach. A Haven Freeport would create the highest economic value for the nation, while maximising the economic potential of an area blessed with a deep sheltered haven, a mobilised skills base, globally renowned operations and industrial complexes. A freeport would accelerate the development of decarbonisation technologies, including hydrogen production and injection.
As a Trust Port we continuously re-invest our profits in infrastructure, equipment and services for the benefit of today’s and future generations. Our vision is for the Milford Haven Waterway to play a significant role in delivering clean maritime growth, industrial decarbonisation and Net Zero, and to enable a cleaner, greener future for our communities.
This ambition for sustained blue and green-based growth is aligned with the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Plan for Wales, the Welsh Marine Plan, the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, and Pembrokeshire’s Regeneration Strategy. It also complements Pembrokeshire County Council’s ambitious Economic Recovery Plan. Our vision for the Milford Haven Waterway provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to coalesce as we look to ensure Pembrokeshire remains on the map.
We would welcome an opportunity to speak with you to discuss how you can support and/or work with us to deliver a greener and more prosperous future for Pembrokeshire.