NORTH Yorkshire needs to take advantage of the 'momentous opportunity' to capitalise on the benefits of renewable energy, an expert has claimed.

The comments came at the latest online hearing of the Rural Commission, a panel of eight independent experts who advise on a wealth of societal and economic topics.

The panel's latest area of discussion was about the opportunities and challenges presented to North Yorkshire by the growth in renewable energies and the need to make fundamental changes to reduce carbon omissions.

Dr Debbie Trebilco, who has 30-years’ experience in business and an extensive knowledge of renewable energies and climate change initiatives, said North Yorkshire’s expanse is 'potentially a treasure chest for renewables'. She said: "The science is there to produce the energy, but it needs to be generated and stored and there are many areas of the county, which naturally lend themselves to that purpose if we can transport the energy to and from them.

“This is a truly momentous opportunity not to be missed if we are to play our full part in the race to become carbon neutral.

“And let’s get practical here.

"There are up to 17,000 new jobs across Yorkshire and Humber as a direct result of moving through this transition to renewable energies.

“North Yorkshire has a missing generation of 25 to 45-year-olds and a low-wage economy, which is heavily dependent of hospitality and agriculture.

"We need to explore how we can refocus our skills and education so our young people can benefit from these skilled jobs.

“Imagine the positive impact this could have.

"More higher-paid jobs, more children in our rural schools, more vibrant communities. A future our youngsters can aspire to right on our doorsteps. No more haemorrhaging youth and talent.”

Nationally, the Government has set a target for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050.

In North Yorkshire, the county council, which set up the Rural Commission last year, has set a target to be carbon neutral by, or as close as possible to, 2030.

During the Commission's hearing, a broad number of experts discussed the future opportunities and merits of fuels such as hydrogen – green hydrogen, blue hydrogen, bio hydrogen fuels – ammonia, wind, solar and water sourced renewable energies.