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Bridgend Council signs partnership agreement for new hydrogen energy project

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Bridgend County Borough Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese green energy specialists Marubeni setting out how both organisations intend to work together to explore and develop a new 5MW-class hydrogen energy initiative.

The agreement has been signed after Bridgend County Borough was selected by Marubeni following discussions with Welsh Government as the preferred UK location for a green hydrogen demonstrator project, which aims to create a plant capable of generating and balancing the supply and storage of low-cost green energy.

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Under the proposals, the project could act as a trailblazer by generating clean fuel for fleet vehicles ranging from council gritters to recycling and refuse collection lorries.

It could also be extended to cover emergency response vehicles used by blue light services, and will consider how hydrogen fuel might be used to heat buildings and facilities a such as schools, Extra Care residential homes, local swimming pools and more.

Funding for the project is being considered by Marubeni, who intend to be awarded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for a programme called ‘International Demonstration Project on Japan’s Energy Efficiency Technologies’.

As part of the process, Marubeni completed a feasibility study titled ‘Demonstration project of control system that contributes to optimal supply and demand of local energy including electricity, heat and hydrogen (UK)’ in March 2022.

Welsh Government is actively supporting its development and as the project develops, the Cardiff Capital Region has also agreed in principle to consider the opportunity for making further investment.

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Satoru Harada, Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Power Division of Marubeni Corporation, said: “I would like to express my utmost appreciation to the Welsh Government, Bridgend County Borough Council and the Cardiff Capital Region for establishing such a strong working relationship with us.

“I hope that together, we can achieve and deliver a big milestone within this year for Wales through the project.”

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, said: “This is an exciting and ambitious project that has the potential to contribute to our net zero ambitions, and we are delighted to witness this memorandum of understanding between Marubeni and Bridgend County Borough Council.

“The impact of recent rises in energy costs has underlined the importance of developing indigenous, cleaner, greener energy sources.

“Initiatives like the Hydrogen Demonstrator project are important in providing evidence of a clean energy for Bridgend County Borough Council and for Wales, and I am pleased that the council is working on this alongside a leading expert in renewable energy.”

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Councillor John Spanswick, Bridgend’s Cabinet Member for Communities said: “This memorandum of understanding formally acknowledges that Bridgend County Borough Council and Marubeni are working in partnership to explore these extremely ambitious new plans together.

“The proposals are hugely exciting, and have the potential to not only contribute towards the council’s own decarbonisation targets, but to help meet national Welsh Government targets on achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030 and establishing renewable hydrogen production sites as part of the Net Zero Wales agenda.

“I would like to thank Marubeni, the Japanese Government and Welsh Government for the investment for feasibility study they are making into Bridgend County Borough, and for their confidence in the area as a place where a project such as this can flourish and develop for the benefit of all.

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