Neath Port Talbot Council’s Planning Committee has approved plans for the three-storey building, which will provide flexible office space for start-up companies and local businesses.
The new facility will complement the existing adjacent Baglan Bay Innovation Centre building and will continue the focus on the renewable energy - particularly hydrogen -sectors, enabling innovation and research and development. The excess energy from the building, provided by solar and other renewable technologies, will be converted into hydrogen at the nearby Hydrogen Centre to be used to fuel hydrogen vehicles.
The Swansea Bay Technology Centre is one feature of the £58.7 million Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth project being led by Neath Port Talbot Council, which is due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal.
Cllr Rob Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, said: “The Swansea Bay Technology Centre is among a number of projects that will help the Neath Port Talbot and regional economies recover from Covid-19 by supporting employment in growth sectors where there’s an evidenced demand for high-quality business space.
“The energy-efficient nature of the building also forms part of Neath Port Talbot Council’s decarbonisation strategy, while supporting a green recovery from the Coronavirus emergency and contributing to regional, national and UK-wide carbon reduction targets.
“This is a significant step forward for the Swansea Bay Technology Centre, which forms one part of the overall Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth City Deal project that’s been submitted to the UK Government and Welsh Government for final approval.”
Other features of the Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth project include:
- The South Wales Industrial Transformation from Carbon Hub (SWITCH) that will work with a range of sectors across Wales, including the steel and metals industry, with a focus on reducing their carbon footprint.
- Decarbonisation projects including an electrical vehicle charging network, as well as air quality modelling and real-time monitoring to enable better informed air quality decisions in future.
- An Industrial Futures project to address the gap between demand and supply for businesses and available land in the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone, with a hybrid building providing production units as well as office space to support start-ups and indigenous businesses in the innovation and manufacturing sectors. Land remediation is also planned, along with flood defence work, the construction of access roads and the upgrading of highways. A Property Development Fund will be made available to support private sector building schemes in the Enterprise Zone.
With a targeted focus on the Port Talbot Harbourside area, the Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth project is estimated to be worth £6.2 million a year to the local economy once all projects are operational. Over 1,300 jobs will be created or safeguarded, with at least 30% of these to be new.
Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by Carmarthenshire Council, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire Council and Swansea Council, in partnership with Swansea University, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Bay University Health Board and Hywel Dda University Health Board.
The investment programme is worth £1.8 billion and over 9,000 jobs to the Swansea Bay City Region in coming years.