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  • 24/01/2017
  • Media Releases

Green power is the key to industry revival – minister told

Low-carbon, low-cost energy holds the key to a competitive future for the UK’s steel and engineering industries, Wales’ environment secretary was told today (January 23rd)

During a visit to South Wales-based sister companies, SIMEC Uskmouth Power (SUP) and Liberty Steel Newport (LSN),  Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs was briefed about their GREENSTEEL strategy to revive industry and create skilled jobs.

Senior management from the firms, who are both members of the global GFG Alliance, outlined their current programme to develop a wide range of renewable energy assets to  power Liberty’s growing number of metals and engineering plants in Wales and across the UK.

Newport-based SUP has already provided biofuel-driven generating units to power the adjacent steel rolling mill at LSN, which employs around 150 people and has the capacity to produce one million tonnes of hot rolled coil a year.

SIMEC plans to install similar units across Liberty’s portfolio of UK steel mills and engineering works, and also to use renewable energy sources to power a new network of electric arc furnaces with total capacity to make five million tonnes of liquid steel a year from recycled material.

Liberty announced late last year that it wants to install arc furnace capacity at LSN creating several hundred new jobs for the Newport area.

SIMEC’s strategy includes plans for a major renewable energy park around its existing coal-fired station at Newport, which it hopes to convert to biomass generation. The new complex would also include waste-to-energy plants.

Jay Hambro, Chief Investment Officer for the GFG Alliance, which includes both SIMEC and Liberty said: “We are creating a centre of excellence for renewable energy at Newport.  We are already putting our GREENSTEEL plan into action at the Newport site and we’re committed to rolling this out right across the country.

“We believe that the creation of a low-carbon business with an integrated supply chain is the way to make Britain’s metal and engineering industry both competitive and sustainable once again. Within the GFG Alliance we have the advantage of being on both sides of the renewables debate. We are a sizeable energy generator and a substantial long-term user.  We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to explain our current programme and future plans to the Cabinet Secretary today.”

Ms Griffiths toured the SUP and LSN sites, meeting both management and workers and afterwards said: “The Welsh Government is committed to supporting energy intensive industries to be more efficient. I was pleased to have the opportunity to   hear Liberty’s GREENSTEEL strategy, which looks at novel ways to produce steel by lower carbon methods.”