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Cardiff Capital Region acquires former Aberthaw Power Station to transform into renewable energy hub

The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) has secured the acquisition of the former Aberthaw Power Station in the Vale of Glamorgan, in a move that is set to transform the region’s energy landscape and boost employment opportunities.

The 10 local authorities of South East Wales, which comprise the CCR, have jointly purchased the decommissioned power station and almost 500 acres of surrounding land from energy giant RWE in a deal worth £8m (plus VAT). The purchase has been funded by the CCR’s City Deal, which has allocated a total of £1.2bn towards various regeneration projects across the region.

The CCR has committed an additional £30.4m to cover the cost of demolishing the coal-fired plant and undertaking remediation and redevelopment work on the site. The long-term plan for the Aberthaw Power Station is to transform it into a renewable energy hub, with the potential to create thousands of new jobs in the region.

The power station, which began generating electricity in 1970 and had a capacity of 1,560 megawatts, was RWE’s last remaining coal-fired station in the UK. It ceased producing electricity for the National Grid in 2019.

The CCR’s decision to acquire the Aberthaw Power Station and develop it as a renewable energy hub has been welcomed by many in the region. The move is seen as a key step towards achieving the region’s ambitious carbon reduction targets, while also stimulating economic growth and job creation.

Speaking about the acquisition, Councillor Huw Thomas, Chair of the CCR Cabinet, said: “This is a landmark moment for the Cardiff Capital Region, as we take a major step towards achieving our goal of becoming a low-carbon economy. The Aberthaw Power Station has played a significant role in the region’s energy history, and we are now excited to write a new chapter for this site, one that will bring sustainable energy and job opportunities to the area.”

While dependent on investor appetite from the private sector the site could been developed to include:

  • Renewable and green energy projects.
  • A battery storage facility to support energy projects.
  • A zero-carbon manufacturing cluster with green hydrogen production facilities.
  • A green energy innovation centre.
  • An ecology park.

Anthony Hunt, chair of the regional cabinet and leader of Torfaen County Borough Council said: “It’s highly encouraging to see such an important step being taken in our Aberthaw journey. The CCR team has worked expertly with RWE since the initial exchange of contracts to make sure that all permits are in place so that, post-purchase completion, we can progress to the demolition and remediation stage of a site that is home to so many opportunities.

“Following a week that saw the Welsh Government publish its new innovation strategy for a stronger, fairer, greener Wales, adopting a mission-based collaborative approach, it’s good to view our investment as a driver of a new Wales, capable of powering our future, sustainably.”

Tom Glover, UK country chair, RWE, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have concluded the sale with Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) – the teams have worked hard to get to this stage. CCR has a future vision of a green industrial 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.”

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Rhys Thomas, chief operating officer, CCR City Deal, said: “This significant milestone brings a new level of activity to an Aberthaw development that will change the face of South East Wales, taking us another step towards the connected, competitive and resilient region being championed by CCR.

“Our investment is ultimately about people as well as the economy – with the development becoming a focal point for green energy innovation, growth, knowledge share and community interaction, including a base for a biodiverse ecology reserve, open to people from across our region and beyond. With the purchase now complete, we are looking forward to turning these possibilities into a reality that everyone can benefit from.”