North Wales green recovery efforts

When we continue to plan beyond the current crisis, the idea of a ‘green recovery’ seems to be one of the buzz words at the moment.

Throughout the spectrum, activists, companies, academics , and politicians are calling for urgency and action to resolve the climate emergency as we find our way out of lockdown.

With a significant economic downturn forecast, governments around the world look to balance the public health emergency with the need to take action to save the economy. But pressure is also mounting for recovery to focus on sustainability.

With less traffic and less emissions, it was apparent from the start during lockdown that people are searching for something better –with cleaner transportation and a more versatile approach to work near to the top of their agenda.

This is where M-SParc, is well placed to play a key role.

The climate agenda has been the focus of this science park in north Wales since it opened in 2018 – providing space and support for thriving low-carbon knowledge-based business. Taking these principles further post-Covid-19 will be key to ensuring recovery benefits for the environment by sharing knowledge and experience with partners locally and beyond.

M-SParc’s BREEAM building was designed with climate and low carbon principles at its core. From its role as a hub for the region’s marine energy sector, energy-efficient solar photovoltaics powering businesses inside, EV charging points and, most importantly, an ethos that compels tenant businesses and partners to constantly consider their impact on climate.

“Now is the time to raise our game and ambition in terms of climate and carbon reduction. We have an opportunity to take stock and build back better – this is exactly what we aim to do here at M-SParc. Over 60% of our tenants are already from the low carbon sector – and this is something we want to increase as we move forward.

“We’re not standing still though and through this crisis we are looking at how we can play a part in a green recovery – by helping our businesses to adapt, as many have already done so, but also by facilitating the discussion around a climate friendly bounce back. This is why we held our first virtual ‘Egni 2020’ conference recently. Part of a series of events usually held on site, the theme this time was very much focused on the impact of Covid-19 and how we can plan for a better future.”

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, M-SParc managing director.

Speakers at Egni 2020 came from a broad range of low carbon technology projects including community initiatives, renewables and clean energy.

Their messages reiterated conversations heard at a global level, calling on decision-makers to grasp the positive outcomes of this crisis and push for a sustainable recovery with a significant part of this reducing our impact on the climate.

Egni panellist, Rebecca Colley Jones of Anglesey-based Ynys Resources identified some of the key elements she believed should be linked to the post pandemic recovery in her talk. Its focus was on community, cooperation, and innovation. The other speakers had repeated these concepts at the on-line gathering.

A regular at Egni conferences, Ynni Ogwen’s Meleri Davies explained how their work at the hydro energy project is a perfect fit with the aims of a green recovery.  Ynni Ogwen Cyf is a community benefit company, operating for both the environmental and social well-being of Dyffryn Ogwen in Gwynedd – with any surplus income used to fund local green and community projects.

Staying with renewable energy sector, panellist Paul Carter of off-shore wind company, Innogy, explained how north Wales is poised to become a key player in clean energy generation. With on and offshore wind as well as the development of tidal energy in the region, serviced by the likes of M-SParc, he believes north Wales is well positioned to be at the heart of an accelerated transition to renewable energy post pandemic.

Clean energy alternative, hydrogen was on the agenda too, with Ynni Glân’s Guto Owen adding his voice to demands for a green recovery. Guto has long advocated hydrogen as an energy source with zero emissions and was keen to encourage policymakers and industry to be creative to drive improvements in energy use habits.

“With research by Centre For Towns and the University of Southampton showing that the Welsh economy will be worst affected by the pandemic we must take collective responsibility and play our part in the recovery beyond the current crisis. But we need to do this in a way which supports sustained climate action.

“We hope to share our message of promoting a green recovery amongst our partners to help small businesses rebuild responsibly and put climate at heart of how they plan their businesses models post Covid19. Our message is simple – we have to seize the opportunity. We cannot let what has been such a challenging time pass without learning important lessons on how we can do things differently. Better, cleaner and for the good of our climate – not just for the now but for the long term. After all, if the climate is healthier then this must be a positive for our health too.”

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, M-SParc managing director.

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