Talks are underway to create a new clean energy campus in the North East helping to create up to 1,000 jobs, The Northern Echo can reveal.

According to reports, the Qatar Foundation has partnered with engine maker Rolls-Royce to invest billions in green engineering projects to help businesses transition to net zero.

As part of this, they are seeking to establish two clean energy campuses in the UK – creating 1,000 jobs – with one set to be based in the north of England.

Read more: Government energy plan includes funding for Net Zero Teesside

The Echo understands Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen jetted off to the Gulf state in December last year to meet representatives of the non-profit Qatar Foundation, which aims to position the country as a global leader in education and research.

Mr Houchen has since met officials in London for further talks, and hosted delegates at both Teesworks and Teesside Airport last summer to demonstrate the green energy projects currently in development in the region and the scale of opportunity.

Mr Houchen, who as part of the visit also attended the Argentina vs Croatia World Cup semi final on December 13, said: “I was elected with a clear mandate to bring jobs and investment to Teesside and since becoming Mayor - I’ve made it my mission.

“Whether it’s investment from South Korea, Japan, the USA or Qatar, I’ll go wherever I need to go if there’s an opportunity to bang the drum for jobs and investment in Teesside. Let me be clear to all the naysayers and the moaners, this did not cost the taxpayer a penny.

“There are some massive opportunities out there that previously were overlooked, and if we don’t go and put our best foot forward and try and grab these opportunities with both hands, no one will do it for us.

“I’m excited by the opportunities coming from Qatar and I’m delighted to hear of their interest on our area. This is a nationally important project that has been in the pipeline for some time and I’m hopeful that we can land this for Teesside.”

Read more: 7 North East firms named by HMRC for thousands in unpaid tax

Last month, ambitious plans putting the North East at the heart of the UK’s energy security, creating 5,500 jobs, moved a step closer with the Government confirming support for a £1.5 billion scheme. Net Zero Teesside is set to become the world’s first gas-fired power plant with carbon capture and storage facilities, producing up to 860 megawatts of electricity, enough to power around 1.3million homes per year.

Up to two million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the new power station on Teesside will be captured per year and transported offshore for storage.

The investment scheme, driven by a consortium of energy companies led by BP, will represent ‘ground zero’ for clean industry in the UK.

Rishi Sunak and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed plans to increase ‘clean’ power production by building thriving green industries to secure energy independence and reduce bills in the long term.

It comes as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine continues to devastate global energy markets, forcing up wholesale prices and energy bills of households and businesses in the UK and around the world. 

But the Northern Powerhouse Partnership has suggested the Government could be ‘playing political games’ instead of making smart decisions on the economy and national aims regarding decarbonisation.