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South Hampshire College Group announces membership of the first major decarbonisation collaboration to reduce southern England’s emissions

South Hampshire College Group has announced its membership of The Solent Cluster, the first major decarbonisation initiative to substantially reduce CO2 emissions from industry, transport and households across the Solent and the south coast of England.

The Solent Cluster is a cross-sector collaboration of international organisations, including manufacturers and engineering companies, regional businesses and industries, leading logistics and infrastructure operators and academic institutions, with decades of proven expertise in carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technology. The Solent region has the capacity to potentially capture and safely store up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 annually as part of the project's ambitions.

South Hampshire College Group (SHCG) joins over 100 members as part of the Cluster alongside founding members the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), global energy provider ExxonMobil and University of Southampton. The founding members have each shared details of their vision for the Solent and how it could secure existing jobs and produce low-carbon fuels for sectors including maritime and aviation, as well as providing energy to heat homes, businesses, and public buildings. This effort could position the Solent at the centre of low carbon fuel production in the UK and make a major contribution to the country’s Net Zero ambitions by 2050.

Anoushka Ottley, Executive Director of Business & Partnerships at SHCG said, "South Hampshire College Group are deeply committed to aligning our educational offerings with the specific skills required to meet the objectives of the Solent Cluster's vision. Through close collaboration with local industries, training providers across the region, and strategic planning, we will ensure that our curriculum and training programs are tailored to cultivate the skills essential for realising the Solent Cluster's goals. Our college group will serve as a dynamic hub for skills development, empowering individuals and the communities we serve to excel in pursuit of the Solent Cluster's objectives."

In a recent socioeconomic report released by the Cluster, it confirmed over 70,000 jobs could be secured, including the creation of over 18,000 new skilled jobs as part of a potential £11.9bn economic boost for the Solent region. The Cluster also has the potential of over £4.4 billion gross value added to the economy by 2035.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, chair of The Solent Cluster said, “Decarbonisation will be a catalyst for transformative change as we seek to propel the region into a new era of sustainable growth. The importance of identifying the potential for thousands of new jobs and billions in investment, cannot be underestimated.”

“The Solent Cluster is an important opportunity to decarbonise the Solent Region, and we are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from multiple sectors,’’ said Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and academic cluster lead for the Solent Industrial Decarbonisation Cluster at University of Southampton, said: “The Solent is recognised as one of the leading contributors of CO2 emissions from energy-intensive manufacturing processes every year. The formation of a decarbonisation cluster that spans the public, private and higher education sectors is a monumental step forward for the region.

“It will introduce sustainable fuels for local transportation, the aviation and the shipping sectors; create low carbon energy to heat homes, businesses and public buildings; and open up new highly skilled jobs opportunities. This can only be achieved by working together as a community, covering all sectors and ultimately working with the same desire to achieve a low carbon economic future for the Solent region.”