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With its origins in the chemicals and process sectors, Wilton International’s energy, utilities, infrastructure, available land, and decarbonisation strategies make it an ideal site for a wide range of businesses with large power requirements.
Perhaps the first thing a visitor to Wilton International notices is the sheer scale of the site. At 2,000 acres (809 hectares) it’s vast, and home to an array of large-scale industrial operations including green energy generation, chemicals manufacturing, biofuels production and plastics recycling.
Wilton International began as an integrated manufacturing site owned and operated by the chemicals giant ICI. Following that company’s business divestment programme in the 1990s and 2000s, the site’s energy and manufacturing assets were acquired by various international corporations. However, the Wilton International business model remains fundamentally the same: on-site power generation and shared industrial infrastructure – to provide a secure, cost-efficient location for energy-intensive businesses.
Resilient power, generated on site
Today, Wilton International’s power generation and utilities assets are owned and operated by Sembcorp Energy UK, part of the Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries group. The company operates four power generation units on the site, utilising three different fuel types – biomass, domestic waste and gas.
“Having multiple power plants and fuel types, with national grid back up, means we have the capacity to provide companies on site with the energy resilience they require,” says Scott Taylor of Wilton International’s inward investment team.
“That’s vital for businesses running large-scale, 24-7 operations”.
The site’s private wire electricity network can also mean reduced national grid charges and overall energy costs for businesses based here.
Committed to Decarbonisation
Since acquiring Wilton International in 2003, Sembcorp has implemented a strategy of continually adopting cleaner technologies to reduce emissions and increase the use of sustainable resources. Key steps have included major investments in gas turbines, replacing coal and oil, and the adoption of more sustainable power generation technologies including biomass and waste-to-energy. To date, these investments have saved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions.
Sembcorp Energy UK is now fully committed to enabling the decarbonisation of businesses at Wilton International, and to supporting the UK’s transition to Net Zero. In July 2021, the company announced a collaborative project to deliver the UK’s first Net Zero emissions power station on the site – Whitetail Clean Energy.
‘Decarbonising sites like Wilton International will be key to delivering Net Zero in the UK,’ says Scott Taylor. ‘And having a clear decarbonisation strategy means we can future-proof the site for both existing clients and new inward investors’.
‘World-scale’ utilities capacities
The utilities provision at Wilton International is both wide-ranging and ‘world scale’ – a favourable consequence of the sites origins, and ongoing specialisations, in the chemicals and process sectors. Steam, natural gas and compressed air, as well as demineralised, raw and potable water, are supplied by Sembcorp Energy UK, while BOC supplies industrial gases including nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and CO2. The site also benefits from a plentiful regional water supply and specialist effluent management services.
Wilton International’s energy, utilities and industrial feedstocks are delivered to site occupiers via 120km of established service corridors, and infrastructure including cables, pipelines, bridges, culverts and tunnels. For new businesses developing facilities on the site, that can mean big savings on service infrastructure that simply doesn’t have to be built.
‘Ready to go’ industrial development land with potential Freeport incentives
Of Wilton International’s 2000 acres (809 hectares), no less than 562 acres (227 hectares) of land are currently available for industrial development. The site’s diverse portfolio includes both brownfield (previously occupied) and greenfield plots, in sizes ranging from 2.5 up to 66 acres. Many of these plots are within the ‘Tax Zone’ of the new Teesside Freeport (announced in March 2021), providing a range of tax incentives for investing businesses, including Enhanced Capital Allowances.
According to Sembcorp Energy UK, fast, hassle-free site delivery is the crux of Wilton International’s land offer to businesses.
“The site’s ready to go for businesses with large power requirements,” says Matthew Scrimshaw, Sembcorp Energy UK’s Commercial Director.
“All our plots have pre-consented planning for industrial uses. They’re also fully serviceable, with ‘plug and play’ energy, utilities and infrastructure. That means investing businesses can reduce project lead times and achieve significant cost savings. On our Freeport plots, Tax Zone status is one more valuable benefit for investors”.
Integration with Teesside’s industrial and logistics cluster
With shared utilities, infrastructure and security, there’s no doubt that Wilton International is a highly integrated industrial site. But it only takes a cursory look at a local map to realise that this integration extends beyond the site’s perimeter, into the wider Teesside industrial and logistics complex.
Within a 2.5 mile (4km) radius of Wilton International, the River Tees provides businesses with access to a major deep sea port (Teesport), handling a range of cargo types, and both dry and liquid bulk terminals. These terminals are directly connected to Wilton International by road, rail and pipeline corridors, providing businesses on site with fast freight access to global markets.
Teesport is just one asset within Teesside Freeport offering sites with ‘Customs Zone’ status - simplified customs arrangements. These benefits complement the tax incentives available at Wilton International, highlighting the synergies available to businesses investing in the Teesside cluster.
The Teesside cluster also provides businesses with direct access to leading research and technology organisations, including the Centre for Process Industries (CPI), a Catapult centre, and educational institutions that align their courses and qualifications with the needs of local industry. Perhaps above all, the cluster is characterised by a skilled industrial workforce that’s both large and specialised, in areas including chemicals manufacturing and scientific R&D.
Supporting diverse energy-intensive businesses
Wilton International’s capabilities – including power generation, utilities infrastructure and freight connectivity – developed to meet the demanding needs of the chemicals and process sectors, which continue to be central to the site’s success. Major occupiers include SABIC, Alpek, Huntsman, Biffa, Ensus and Nippon Gases, and Sembcorp Energy UK plans to attract more investments in these established sectors, with sustainable energy at the heart of the offer.
However, the Wilton International team are equally keen to emphasise the site’s suitability for investing businesses across a far wider range of industries.
“We’re seeing strong interest from sectors including waste to fuels and feedstocks, biotech and pharma, recycling, innovative foods, and the net zero supply chain,” says Sembcorp’s Scott Taylor.
“Businesses in all these sectors have difficulties finding sites with the planning permission, large power supplies, infrastructure and connectivity they need. But Wilton International’s got the lot.”
Sembcorp aims to establish Wilton International as the location of choice for the diverse, sustainable energy-intensive industries of the future. It’s an ambitious vision, but also one that both Wilton International and Sembcorp are well-positioned to deliver.Inward Investment Development Land Sustainability