Cheshire is set to become the North West’s renewable energy hub, with the recent development of a £1 billion investment blueprint which focuses on low carbon projects within the county.

Aiming to save nearly 3 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, the initiative is a partnership between the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Cheshire Energy Hub.

As one of the UK’s manufacturing power houses, Cheshire’s Ellesmere Port consumes around 5% of the UK’s energy. A local climate emergency was declared after it was discovered that Cheshire West and Chester are the fourth largest carbon emitters in the country.

A ten-month study funded by the LEP and some local private sector partners resulted in a net zero investment plan. The plan intends to create jobs and create inclusive growth in the area, while delivering value to industry energy users and investors.

Of the study, Clare Hayward, Chair of the Cheshire & Warrington LEP said, “Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and around the world we’re seeing Governments set ever more ambitious targets.”

“We want to make Cheshire and Warrington the most sustainable place in the UK and reach net zero emissions by 2030, which isn’t that far away.”

Utilising a portfolio of renewable energy concepts, ‘Invest Net Zero Cheshire’ has identified various methods of offering long-term, sustainable investment opportunities in net zero, including renewable generation, hydrogen, carbon capture, energy storage, and smart grids.

Ged Barlow, Chair of the Cheshire Energy Hub, emphasised the partnership’s importance, saying, “As we recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic and look ahead to the UK’s presidency of the United Nations climate conference, COP 26, the green industrial revolution is more critical than it ever has been.”

“We have developed a roadmap to reaching net zero emissions in Cheshire by 2030 which could unlock £1 billion of capital investment and save nearly 3 million tonnes of carbon.”

The study itself involved understanding industrial energy users’ existing and future energy demands. Based upon their potential to reduce carbon emissions, a portfolio of projects was identified and shortlisted, leading to a bankability review exercise for private sector-led funding.

Followed by creation of an investable roadmap for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030, interest in funding is now being sought by Ikagai Capital regarding the pipeline of future projects.