Future of major hydrogen project in doubt as council feels the pinch
The future of a major hydrogen project will be discussed next week, with senior councillors concerned about the local authority’s ability to afford its contribution to the £31 million project.
The scheme, which has been named the HyBont Green Hydrogen Project, could see a hydrogen-powered plant built by Japanese developers Marubeni on the Brynmenyn industrial estate, near the village of Bryncethin.
The planning application for the project has sparked a significant backlash from local residents, who say the proposals are inappropriate due to safety fears about the proximity of the plant to residential areas, and a lack of clarity in the plans.
Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday (19 September) to discuss whether the local authority is going to be able to continue to support the project financially.
Having predicted a multi-million pound deficit for 2024-25 and faced with significant new budget pressures, members will be asked to consider whether the council can afford to commit financial revenue and capital costs of around £6.5m towards the Hybont project, or if these financial pressures will compel it to pull out of the project.
With support from the Welsh Government and Cardiff Capital Region, Japanese renewable energy specialists Marubeni Europower selected Bridgend County Borough as its preferred UK location for the green hydrogen demonstrator project, which could generate clean fuel for fleet vehicles ranging from council gritters to recycling and refuse collection lorries.
The potential site for the new facility was been identified at Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, and Marubeni has submitted a planning application which is currently being determined.
If Cabinet members opt to withdraw, discussions between Welsh Government, Cardiff Capital Region and Marubeni would continue to take place to try and identify an alternative way of delivering the project.
The planning application would also continue to be processed in line with normal planning rules and regulations.
Earlier this week the council announced a special planning meeting to discuss the application, as well as a site visit before-hand has been agreed.
It also confirmed there had been a request for the Welsh Government to call in the decision for the HyBont Green Hydrogen Project, which would take the power to reject or approve the application out of the local authorities hands.
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