Mayor Welcomes New Net Zero Power Plant Plans

July 13th 2021

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (13 July) welcomed hugely ambitious plans develop a new multimillion-pound net zero electricity plant in the region which would support more than 2,000 jobs in the construction phase alone.

US clean energy innovation firm 8 Rivers Capital and Sembcorp Energy UK are coming together to develop the new plant, known as the Whitetail Clean Energy project at Sembcorp’s Wilton International site in Redcar.

Once up and running the state-of-the-art energy power plant will produce 300 megawatts of clean, efficient, low-cost electricity, with the potential to expand in the future. Thanks to Wilton International’s port and pipeline access, all the carbon dioxide from the plant can be captured and transported under the North Sea, where it will be permanently stored.

During construction, the plant is expected to support more than 2,000 direct and induced jobs, including many opportunities in the region’s supply chain.

It could be commissioned as early as 2025 and, once operational, it is expected to create up to 200 jobs and would support retraining of engineers, giving them the skills they need to operate the project.

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor said: “This is yet another huge boost for Teesside and will see more good-quality, well-paid jobs created first in construction and then the innovative clean energy sector. Sembcorp Energy UK with their Wilton International site is an incredible business in our area.

“Whether it’s carbon capture, hydrogen or renewables, Teesside is already leading the way for the rest of the UK to follow and championing these new technologies. This project complements what we’re doing on the Teesworks site to make Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool an energy powerhouse in this field. We’re only going to continue to capitalise on new opportunities as the Teesside Freeport gets up and running, bringing with it more investment and jobs.”

The project, on a site which forms part of the Teesside Freeport, joins a number of clean energy and renewable initiatives currently under way in the region.

Just last week the global CEO of energy company bp, Bernard Looney, visited the region to see the Net Zero Teesside site firsthand and to check on progress. The power plant aims to be up and running in the next five years and plans to capture up to 10million tonnes of COemissions each year. The firm this year also announced H2 Teesside, which is targeting 1GW of hydrogen production by 2030 and will also store the resulting CO2 offshore via the Northern Endurance Partnership’s offshore infrastructure.

Subject to regulatory support and if finalised, the agreement signed by 8 Rivers and Sembcorp will provide another asset working towards decarbonisation in Teesside.

Andy Koss, CEO of UK & Middle East, Sembcorp Industries said: “Helping to bring this first-of-a-kind carbon capture technology to Teesside is part of Sembcorp Energy UK’s commitment to reducing the carbon emissions of its power generation assets at Wilton International and to be a leading provider of sustainable solutions. We look forward to working closely with 8 Rivers to further boost the region’s support of the energy transition to Net Zero. We are determined to play our part in helping the UK move towards more sustainable solutions for a low-carbon economy, while fulfilling our global strategic ambition to transform our portfolio towards a greener future.”

Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is about bringing the industries of the future to our area which will provide the high-quality jobs the people of Redcar and Cleveland deserve for years to come. It is excellent news which goes to show that first rate companies are prepared to invest in our region and I want to congratulate everyone involved.”