Bridgend council in Wales has pulled millions of pounds of financial support from a £31m green energy scheme called HyBont. The project, developed by Japanese firm Marubeni Europower, aims to create green hydrogen for local authority vehicles. The council cited financial constraints as the reason for withdrawing its £6.5m contribution.
HyBont, which was intended as a prototype, would have used power from a nearby solar farm to generate green fuel for council vehicles, as well as provide heating for schools and a leisure centre via a 0.6-mile hydrogen pipeline. The project was also innovative in its use of software to match hydrogen demand with the cheapest production times.
Although Bridgend council had initially seen HyBont as a trailblazing venture and an opportunity to contribute to Wales’ net-zero goals, a report revealed that the authority would face significant financial implications in the coming years. With the council already forecasting a multi-million pound deficit for 2024-25, council leaders made the decision to withdraw financial support.
Marubeni Europower expressed disappointment over the council’s decision but emphasized its commitment to the project. Despite the financial setback, the company stated that it was in discussions with other partners to secure future funding for HyBont. The scheme now faces an additional obstacle, as significant opposition to its planning application has been raised due to concerns about the plant’s proximity to residential and commercial areas.
Bridgend council has requested that the final decision on granting planning permission be taken over by the Welsh government. The council cabinet has also voted to continue discussions with partners to explore alternative routes forward for the project.
– Bridgend County Borough Council
– Marubeni Europower