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Infrastructure Insights


Welcome to Infrastructure Insights.

This week we’re looking at the UK’s energy system, including the impacts of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects in Suffolk, RWE’s community investment and BP’s hydrogen hub.

Suffolk County Council feels pressure of infrastructure projects – BBC.

There are 14 Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) in Suffolk, including Sizewell C nuclear power station, solar and wind farms and Lowestoft’s Gull Wing bridge.

These projects can bring huge economic benefits, creating jobs and attracting additional investment. But they can also have significant impacts on communities and the environment.

Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee is set to lobby the government to change NSIP funding, securing more support for local authorities.

Councillor Richard Rout, Deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “The recognition of this strain on our communities is a key issue and the government needs to recognise that for public acceptance for these schemes to exist, there needs to be an offer to them as well.”


The situation in Suffolk is an important case study about consultation – and indeed, infrastructure – fatigue. The piece highlights calls for additional funding to support communities through the delivery of such a high volume of infrastructure, but for grass-root communities, this is not about funding for local government. It is about tangible benefits, social value and what many will see as an ‘offsetting’ of impacts.

Regardless of government’s funding decisions, the teams responsible for the projects’ delivery will need to proactively engage communities through what may feel like ‘yet another’ consultation to generate the feedback they need to secure their DCOs – demonstrating the social value they bring beyond core project benefits.

Furthermore, their communications strategies will not only need to balance the narratives of opposition campaigns already mobilised, but also include reputation management and crisis plans to mitigate mounting resentment about the widespread development of traditionally rural Suffolk.


RWE wind farms invest £25m in UK communities – ReNews

Over the past 20 years, RWE has invested £25 million into communities living near their projects.

Notably, these Community Benefit funds are directly managed by local independent organisations.

Examples of grassroots projects funded by them are spread right across the UK. RWE’s Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm in Wales, for instance, has made over £80,000 available to a community transport organisation.

In Scotland, their Bad a Cheo wind farm supports an education and training fund.


When combined with good two-way community engagement, community benefit funds empower local people to drive the projects that matter most to them and live climate smarter lives. Community input enables these funds to build on projects’ economic benefits, help the environment and add social value in new ways.

Projects can put strain on communities and Community Benefit funds allow developers to engage more authentically with local people, representing an additional offer to them.

BP plans to turn Teesside into first green hydrogen hub – The Times

BP plans to build Britain’s biggest green hydrogen facility on Teesside and expand capacity to 500 megawatts by 2030, turning the area into the UK’s first major hydrogen transport hub.

To support this, BP is also planning to develop a 1 gigawatt facility on Teesside to produce blue hydrogen, which is made by processing natural gas and capturing carbon emissions.

Combined, these hydrogen facilities could provide 30 per cent of the UK’s target of hydrogen production capacity for this decade. However, their development will depend upon governmental support to make them economically viable.

BP hopes to take a final investment decision on HyGreen by 2023 and expects the costs for later phases to come down.


BP’s plans beg questions over the financial viability of deploying green hydrogen at the scale and pace required to reach net zero by 2050 – which is underlined by their need to supplement the green hydrogen facility with a large-scale blue hydrogen project. That said, blue hydrogen projects can serve as a bridging technology, providing the pipelines that green hydrogen will later rely on. There is also much to be said for their carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure, which can drastically cut emissions from industry, infrastructure that would not otherwise exist.

However, public understanding of hydrogen is still almost non-existent, so the communications challenge BP and its partners will face is the timely delivery not only of hydrogen awareness but also of the nuanced financial and logistical messaging associated with their blue-to-green transition plan.





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