The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) has purchased Aberthaw Power Station, one of South Wales’ best-known landmarks, to develop and reposition it as an exemplar for green energy production in the region.
It has acquired the 489-acre site, which contains the decommissioned coal-fired power station on the Vale of Glamorgan coast, from the current owners RWE, with the potential to create thousands of jobs.
Following approval to purchase from the CCR’s Regional Cabinet, CCR plans to remediate, redevelop and reposition the site, maximising its long-term development potential to drive sustainable, clean economic growth across the South-East Wales region.
CCR has committed £36.4m to the project, with an £8m purchase price of the site, and the remaining amount being used for demolition, remediation, and re-development.
The proposed Master Plan for the redevelopment of the Aberthaw site, which we acknowledge will take several years to come to fruition given the nature of and complexities involved in the transitioning process, will seek to:
- Support the production of renewable and green energy projects
- Provide an accompanying battery storage facility to support the green energy projects
- Produce a zero-carbon manufacturing cluster which will include green hydrogen production facilities
- Provide a green energy innovation centre to promote innovation, growth, knowledge and community interaction with the zero-carbon future of Wales
- Be responsible for the development and maintenance of a bio-diverse ecology park which will include a visitor centre, providing amenities to the local community
- Create the correct conditions to support industrial de-carbonisation and future giga-plant facilities
The Master Plan aligns with the objectives of the CCR Economic and Industrial Plan and the CCR Energy Strategy and will contribute towards the objectives of the UK and Welsh Government 2050’s net zero targets. It will also provide the region with highly skilled job creation – with the potential to create thousands of direct, indirect and induced jobs, along with local supply chain and upskilling benefits.
CCR will maintain a strong commitment to engage and involve local community stakeholders in order to develop an open, inclusive and participative ethos as soon as the commercially sensitive considerations have been addressed.
There are areas of the site which require ongoing custodianship, in respect of nature, biodiversity and managing the overall ecology of the site, which will be best achieved in partnership with community.
CCR’s redevelopment plan will commit to safeguarding and developing the Nature Reserve, working with colleagues in the Vale of Glamorgan Council to ensure effective plans are put in place. In the interim, whilst plans are worked through, commitment is given to ensure this ecologically valuable component of the site is protected and, wherever possible, further enhanced and augmented.
The location of the site allows for strong strategic links with other major assets, including Bro Tathan Business Park, Cardiff Airport, and the overarching St Athan Enterprise Zone – one of the few sites in the UK capable of accommodating large-scale lithium-ion battery production.
This project will enhance and strengthen the Vale of Glamorgan and the region, as a major regional enterprise hub. In so doing it will deliver multiple benefits to South-east Wales communities and offers the potential to shape and create new markets in key industrial sectors of the future.
UK Government Minister David TC Davies said:
“This is a terrific project and an important one as we transition to a greener, cleaner environment and a net zero economy.
“The UK Government’s investment in the Cardiff Capital Region will deliver thousands of jobs at Aberthaw and help put Wales on course for an economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS said:
“We are pleased to see Cardiff Capital Region play a leading role in a project designed to deliver new jobs in a stronger, greener regional economy.
“The proposed plan for Aberthaw is positive news which fits well with our commitment to develop tidal lagoon projects and support ideas that can help Wales become a world centre for emerging tidal technologies.
“The Welsh Government’s support for City Deals is integral to our vision to developing stronger economic regions in a Team Wales recovery.”
Councillor Neil Moore, Leader Vale of Glamorgan Council and member of the Regional Cabinet said:
“The Council has made a firm pledge to help tackle climate change by promoting green initiatives.
“Our Project Zero commitment aims to significantly reduce the Council’s carbon output by 2030 and this scheme fits perfectly with that agenda.
“It will transform the now redundant Aberthaw Power Station into a carbon-neutral site, which will not only benefit the environment but also promote economic growth. We anticipate that many thousands of jobs can be created as part of this exciting, forward-thinking project.
“We look forward to working with our Cardiff Capital Region partners on this project, one that we believe will have far-reaching positive consequences for this part of South Wales and beyond.”
Kellie Beirne, Director for the CCR City Deal said:
“The acquisition of the Aberthaw Power Station site is a significant opportunity for the Cardiff Capital Region to take ownership of a major strategic site, which will support green and clean economic growth, innovation, and job creation within a key industry of the future – demonstrating compatibility of climate and economic aims.
“The scale and ambition of the proposals signals the intent of CCR to make serious in-roads into its targets and objectives around industrial de-carbonisation and renewable energy generation – as set out in our Energy Strategy. We want to develop Cardiff Capital Region as an innovative hub for renewable and green energy technology and solutions and grow our employment and skills and talent base accordingly.
“We believe CCR as an established partnership of the ten SE Wales Local Authorities, is uniquely placed to lead the way in such a bold endeavour as a patient and long-term investor in the site, taking a responsible approach to its re-development. For us, this means boosting our clean growth credentials, building resilience and opportunities which can be shared across all parts of the region. We are committed to protecting and enhancing the important bio-diversity of the site and supporting neighbouring communities to develop local approaches, so that as proposals for the site get delivered, restoration of local ecology reflects the ideas and inspirations of local people.”
Tom Glover, UK Country Chair, RWE, said:
“The Aberthaw Power Station site has been at the industrial heart of Wales for over 50 years. It played an invaluable role helping to secure the energy supplies across the UK electricity system and we are very proud of everyone who worked at the site and would like to thank them and the local community for all of their support.
“We are incredibly pleased that Cardiff Capital Region have a future vision of a green and renewable transformation of the site which very much mirrors RWE’s transformation into Wales’ largest renewable generator and our ambition for a net zero generation fleet. We want to wish Cardiff Capital Region every success in this innovative project”.
The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) represents the 10 Local Authorities making up South East Wales. These comprise Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan.
The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal (CCRCD), which commenced in 2016, is a £1.2bn programme agreed between, and funded by, the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the ten local authorities in South East Wales to bring about significant economic growth in the region through investment, upskilling, and improved physical and digital connectivity. The long-term ambition is to increase GVA, create 25,000 high skill jobs and leverage an additional £4bn of investment.