A JAPANESE energy company is set to invest around £26m worth of funding in to Bridgend this year, with the local council signing a memorandum for the development of a green hydrogen demonstrator project in the area.

Green energy specialists Marubeni, attended a welcome event in the town last week, where an agreement setting out how both organisations could work together to develop a new 5MW-class hydrogen energy initiative was discussed.

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

Using the new technology, it is hoped the project could begin 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 such as schools, residential homes, and local swimming pools.

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

Councillor John Spanswick, 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.”

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, added:

“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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