REA report: Freeport East’s transition to Green Transport Hub

The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has published a report On Freeport East's Green Transport Hub strategy. The strategy will allow Freeport East green energy cluster in East Anglia to position itself as a UK and international leader in decarbonising transport. Freeport East encompasses two ports at Felixstowe and Harwich, the Gateway 14 business and logistics park and a telecommunications R&D centre, with tax benefits designed to attract inward investment.

The report stresses the need for grid investment. Freeport East could use its geographical advantage to produce and supply green fuels for maritime, surface and potentially air transport. Freeport East can leverage its position as a major UK transport hub to become a 'Green Transport Hub'.

Decarbonisation will enhance its future competitive position and attract investment in green technologies and resources. The process will require sufficient low-cost renewable energy supplies and associated networks, plus a green fuel production, supply and storage chain. In assessing future energy needs, the report applied the Climate Change Committee's recommended decarbonisation scenario to the region.

REA identified two key implications for Freeport East from the scenario. Electricity consumption will need to significantly increase - an estimated six-fold from 2022 - to supply energy for transport and hydrogen electrolysers. It will require new investments in electricity networks and associated infrastructure.

Major new hydrogen production and storage facilities will also be required to supply green transport fuels. Freeport East stands to benefit from the UK government's energy transition plans which, for energy supplies, targets investment and growth in nearby offshore wind, low carbon hydrogen and nuclear power. For transport, the plans target an acceleration to zero emission surface vehicles and green fuels for shipping and aircraft.

Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: "Decarbonising transport brings significant opportunities for inward investment; offering new jobs and skills as well as reducing the volatility and cost of our transport fuels. Freeport East, with significant transport flows across rail, road and sea, is a natural hub for the economies of scale required to support decarbonisation. "However, achieving this element of the energy transition will require significant investment in our grid network and renewable power supplies.

This independent report provides a valuable basis for ensuring we deliver the power infrastructure across Freeport East that will drive the transition to large-scale electrification and cleaner fuels across our transport system."

Increase electricity, invest in the supply chain

The report identifies four key strategic themes. First, enhance electricity resources. This can be done by identifying the investments needed in electricity networks, low carbon generation, customer electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles.

Enable hydrogen production by identifying the investment needed in electrolyser capacity and the supply chain for production, storage and supply of green fuels. The report also centres enabling finance solutions. Freeport East should identify priority investments and business cases to enable a mix of public and private finance solutions.

The final key strategy the REA highlighted was integrated resource planning and delivery. The transport hub should lead the development of coordinated local energy plans to optimise the delivery of net zero targets across the whole energy system. Further, by preparing delivery plans which identify priority investment needs, delivery models and financing solutions.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, CEO of the REA said: "At a time when decarbonisation must move faster and across more sectors of our economy than ever before, it is fantastic to see an industry-leading coalition like Freeport East committing to the objective of becoming a Green Transport Hub. The REA looks forward to working with stakeholders across industry and government to ensure the recommendations in the report are followed in full, and Freeport East's Green Transport Hub vision is realised." RWE, Maritime Transport and Sizewell C[1] supported the report.

Managing director of Sizewell C, Julia Pyke, commented: "Sizewell C welcomes Freeport East's plans to decarbonise transportation in the region and we look forward to continued collaboration throughout the development of the Green Transport Hub."


  1. ^ Sizewell C (