BUSINESS leaders have called on the Government to support the North East's potential to be a world leader in energy production as part of its levelling up policy.

In a report being sent to the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Chamber sets out where and how the North East could use new and developing technologies to attract substantial investment. The information and case studies within the document are being presented in a Chamber COP 26-themed webinar today.

Rachel Anderson, Chamber assistant director of policy said: “We have an unrivalled base on which to build a global energy sector right across our region. However, there is an urgent requirement for the Government to set out a comprehensive and funded plan for replacing ageing energy generation capacity.

"Whilst some nuclear stations may be able to extend their life beyond 2024, the UK is facing a severe energy gap especially as demand from electric vehicles increases. The Government must reach a decision on the future of Nuclear Energy in the UK and provide certainty to communities with a power station currently reaching the end of its useful life.”

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The Chamber wants to see investment in developing skills for the energy sector and business supply chains. It also wants to see continued commitment to invest in Energy R&D particularly amongst SMEs to bring new ideas to market.

Examples of success stories in the Chamber report include clusters of industries already focused on the oil and gas sectors which have moved into renewables with world class expertise in trenching, submersibles, cable supply, engineering, diving, and wind turbine erection.

Chamber members Northumbrian Water, EDF Energy and the Lynemouth Power Plant all contributed to the report with examples of their expertise in sustainable energy. They included generating power from waste and biomass including treated sewage.

Graham Southall, Northumbrian Water group commercial director said: “We are proud to be the first and only water company in the country to use 100% of our sewage sludge to generate renewable energy through our green power stations at Howdon and Bran Sands, and to have England’s largest hydroelectric plant of its kind at Kielder.

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“These plants make a substantial contribution to our progress to net zero by 2027 and are examples of the great assets and expertise in the North East."

There is also substantial knowledge in the North East with the Renewable Energy Catapult Testing facility and the National Centre for Subsea and Offshore Engineering. These two operations are applying and exporting expertise across UK projects and overseas.

Rachel Anderson said: “The logistics sector is also of prime importance to us developing our energy sector and well-equipped deep ports on the Tyne and Tees with proximity to the Dogger Array mean that industrial clusters have developed well. We now need a Government strategy to give certainty to investors so they know our future plans as a country and direction of travel in this fundamentally important industry.”

 

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