Vince Cable's Specific guide to £20m Baglan-based energy project
BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable has kick-started a Baglan production line which could set standards around the world and create thousands of jobs.
Mr Cable joined First Minister Carwyn Jones at Baglan Energy Park to officially start production of a coating technology which allows buildings to generate, store and release power.
Essentially, the product being developed by the Specific project focuses on turning buildings into power stations and could see up to 10,000 jobs created in the supply chain.
The technology is already in use on six buildings in Europe and three in Wales, including one at an undisclosed location in Port Talbot.
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Mr Cable confirmed the UK Government had covered half the cost of the £20 million project which is being developed to bring to market over the course of the next five years.
The Welsh Government has also backed the groundbreaking technology to the tune of £2 million.
The Business Secretary said: "The Government's £10 million backing of the Specific project shows what can be achieved when world class university research comes together with the private sector.
"It is a leap of faith but all big new technology is a leap of faith.
"This centre will speed up the commercialisation of innovative industrial coatings, creating a whole new manufacturing sector and new business opportunities, not to mention long-term environmental benefits, including turning buildings into sources of power.
"We are committed to investing in high value, high tech sectors where the UK can gain a competitive advantage and promote economic growth."
The First Minister said the Specific project would not just generate ideas for years to come but lead to job creation.
Specific already provides work for around 60 people in Baglan and is expected to create between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs in the supply chain.
Mr Jones said: "We know that one of the most effective ways of creating jobs is to create a cluster of skills.
"What we are saying is come to Wales because we have the skills that you need.
"In order for that to be achieved we need places like this.
"We know that growth and sustainable job creation are at the heart of our programme of Government here in Wales."
Steel giant Tata is one of the key commercial partners on the Specific project.
Tata industrial director Paul Jones joined the Business Secretary and First Minister on their tour of the Baglan site.
The 43-year-old from Crynant, who has worked for Tata for 22 years, said: "What we are doing is quite exciting because we are building this technology where we can turn buildings into power stations.
"Myself and Swansea University professor and Specific research director Dave Worsley started it up as just the two of us."
"There are now 60 plus people working there," he added.