Clean Growth Hubs — the what, why and how?

NZIW


Clean Growth Hubs (CGHs) serve as linchpins of industrial collaboration — creating cohesive networks that combine efforts to share resources, clean energy and infrastructure — for a greener future. Indeed, CGHs are essential cogs in the wheel of Wales’ transition to net zero.

Industries can establish CGHs by delving into collaborative, geographically localised projects to enhance regional resilience and adaptability for the future. In south Wales, collaborative hubs are in place at Barry, Neath Port Talbot and Cardiff; meanwhile, in north Wales there are two CGHs powering our pathway towards a decarbonised future: Deeside and Wrexham.

These hubs play a crucial role in supporting clean growth by attracting investments; enticing new businesses to the area; and generating high-quality, sustainable employment opportunities. As CGHs expand, their positive effects can radiate beyond local boundaries too, contributing to wider national benefits.

As detailed in the SWIC Cluster Plan, all CGHs have the following broad goals:

  1. To support local growth and greater resilience. By bolstering existing industries and drawing in new ones, CGHs help to create jobs, diversify products, and increase investments. Plus, they enhance economic resilience by leveraging regional resources, skilled labour, and historical context — thereby maximising benefits for local communities and improving overall quality of life.
  2. To achieve circularity. By identifying connections between processes (where outputs can fulfil required inputs) CGHs can uncover pathways to minimise energy and material waste.
  3. To aid the development of new infrastructure. CGHs direct substantial efforts towards the upgrades, optimisations, and installations necessary to support future, greener power.
  4. To power the transition to clean energy. CGHs are committed to the generation of electricity from renewable sources and alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.

For CGHs to kick-start and progress successfully, they require help across various legal, technical, economic, and other general remits — available through various sources, e.g., expert advice via Net Zero Industry Wales and funding via the Shared Prosperity Fund.

Long term, it’s expected that CGHs in south Wales will reduce about 5% of SWIC emissions — with similar results expected in north Wales, showing how important they are in reaching Wales’ wider sustainability goals.