The region has set ambitious goals of being carbon neutral by 2030, with the process also set to create 33,000 new jobs and £4bn of investment.
The North West has the potential to “lead the way” in global efforts to become carbon neutral, and has set the ambitious target of achieving that goal by 2030 – two decades before the national 2050 date.
Key to this is the North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster – a scheme delivering decarbonisation of the region’s industrial sector, hoping to be the UK’s first low carbon industrial cluster in 11 years’ time.
As well as saving the planet, it’s hoped the initiative could deliver 33,000 jobs and over £4bn investment, with the scheme supported by the Liverpool and Manchester metro mayors, as well as Local Enterprise Partnerships in Cheshire and Warrington.
The project could see hydrogen blended into the gas grid and piped into homes and businesses across Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, within the next five years.
The project will initially save one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO) emissions every year (rising to up to 10 million tonnes per year), creating a replicable model for the rest of the UK and beyond. It would also see hydrogen supplied in new pipelines to major manufacturing and power generation sites reducing the carbon footprint of industry and creating many opportunities.
The Liverpool City Region declared a Climate Emergency earlier this year with hydrogen forming a critical part of the planned response.
Targets included replacing all methane with hydrogen from the city region’s gas grid by 2035 and delivering a network of at least eight zero-carbon refuelling stations by 2025.
How can we become carbon free?
Reducing energy use.
Some of these changes could also be fitted to existing buildings to improve temperature control and potentially reduce heating use by around 50%.
Transport energy demand could also be cut by 78% by increased use of public transport, walking, cycling and using electric vehicles while cutting flights by two thirds.
Increasing energy supplies.
Based on the past decade’s weather and energy use, it is possible to fully match the UK’s entire energy demand with renewable and carbon-neutral energy.
Half of that would be provided by wind while other sources suited to the UK climate – including geothermal, hydro, tidal and solar – would produce most of the rest.
Carbon-neutral synthetic fuels are also an important alternative to electricity, especially in some areas of industry and transport.
Transforming land and diets.
- Reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions by 57% (compared to 2017)
- Cut food imports from 42% to 17%
- Use 75% of current livestock grazing land for restoring forests and peat-lands