Energy and clean growth in the Northern Powerhouse

At the start of November, a major two-day event in Hull will bring together energy sector businesses, policy-makers and researchers from across the North. North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chair, Andrew Hodgson, who will be chairing a panel discussion at the event, looks ahead to the Energy & Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse conference.

The Energy & Clean Growth conference is the next stage in an ongoing process of collaboration, as we work together with partners across the Northern Powerhouse to showcase the combined energy capabilities of the North, and to illustrate how the North has a vital role to play in tackling global challenges of clean growth.

In late 2017, the Northern Energy Taskforce published the Northern Energy Strategy, with a vision of creating the leading low-carbon energy region in the UK, with an energy economy worth £15 billion per annum and 100,000 green jobs.

And now, the Energy & Clean Growth conference has been organised by the NP11 – the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships that cover the 76 Local Authorities in the North of England – to shine a spotlight on clean growth, the new technologies being developed here in the North, and the opportunities we have as a region within the energy and clean growth arena.

We know that here in the North East we have fantastic history and a bright future in the energy sector. Our region is home to a globally important offshore energy and subsea technology cluster; we have comprehensive innovation and demonstration assets; and we have partnerships like the North East Energy Catalyst which is focused on accelerating decarbonisation, driving economic growth and delivering on national policy.

But we are not just looking at this on a sub-regional level. It’s important that we also show the breadth of what we have to offer across the wider North and that we make sure the combined capabilities of the North are recognised nationally and internationally.

The conference in Hull will bring together more than a thousand delegates from the energy sector, it will spark conversations and it will bring stronger linkages between the different elements of the energy supply chain. I hope that it will also result in even stronger links between industry and academia, bringing research into new technologies up front and centre.

The timing of this conference is important. Energy is a hugely important part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy and this conference comes at a time when many Local Enterprise Partnerships are in the process of publishing their own Local Industrial Strategies. Discussion and debate like we will see at the Energy & Clean Growth event will influence how energy is positioned within these strategies.

And of course, these discussions are all taking place at a time when we are facing global challenges on clean growth and the growth of industry. The UK Government has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the Northern Powerhouse has a leading role to play in achieving this aim.

What we can contribute to the energy agenda when we work together is huge and I look forward to making further progress towards our goals for the Northern Powerhouse in November.

Andrew Hodgson, Chair, North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Energy and Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse takes place on 5 and 6 November in Hull. Find out more.




North East Energy Catalyst ready to deliver on global challenges

A ground-breaking new partnership has been established to unite the North East’s leading energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities, in order to drive new opportunities and growth for the region.

The North East is home to an array of internationally-recognised energy innovation, demonstration and science assets, and a wide range of ‘real-world’ follow-on delivery opportunities. These are owned by the public sector, universities, government bodies, and businesses already developing and delivering important products and services within the energy sector.

These partners have now joined forces to form the North East Energy Catalyst, with a mission of catalysing an integrated energy system which grows a productive, clean economy for prosperous communities. The initiative aims to co-ordinate North East energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities, both onshore and offshore, to develop and showcase solutions to global energy challenges.

Energy Catalyst partners will work together on projects which tackle these major energy challenges, delivering on national energy, industrial, and clean growth strategy, whilst also supporting efforts to drive decarbonisation and economic growth in the region.

The Catalyst will invite and co-ordinate engagement with industry and business, promoting opportunities available in the North East to diversify, commercialise new solutions, and to deliver regional growth and employment across the energy sector.

The partnership includes Newcastle University; Durham University; Northumbria University; Zero Carbon Futures (a subsidiary of Gateshead College); Northern Powergrid; Northern Gas Networks; the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult which has test facilities at Blyth; the British Engines Group; the Innovation SuperNetwork; Northumbrian Water; the North of Tyne Combined Authority; and the North East Combined Authority. It is facilitated by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Andrew Clark, North East LEP Energy Programme Lead, said: “We are delighted to be a founding partner of the North East Energy Catalyst, an initiative which builds on our region’s position at the heart of the UK’s energy industry.

“The region has a unique and comprehensive asset base for innovating, demonstrating and delivering solutions to global energy challenges working both onshore and offshore.

“We also host a highly innovative business base at the cutting edge of developing and commercialising these solutions, presenting significant growth potential and new economic opportunities for places across our region.

“The North East Energy Catalyst brings these assets together in this exciting new partnership to showcase our critical role in this global agenda.”

The initiative follows the identification of energy innovation and demonstration as a key theme within North East LEP’s new Energy for Growth strategy, which aims to drive economic growth in the North East while also bringing sector partners together to deliver on national energy strategy.

Energy was identified as an area of key importance in the North East Strategic Economic Plan, with the potential to bring investment and jobs to our region.

Read more about the North East Energy Catalyst here. For more information, contact [email protected].

Visit to North East energy site unlocks learning for Berwick pupils

Students from Berwick Academy in Northumberland visited a key site in the North East energy sector to learn about the range of careers available to them in the future.

During a day spent at InTEGRel in Gateshead, where academics and engineers work to deliver breakthroughs in the decarbonisation of heat, year 9 students explored roles ranging from Company Director to Technician.

Neil Willis, Regional Lead: Education Challenge at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “We know that encounters with employers can help students to understand how what they learn at school applies to their future careers and can have a positive impact on their ambition, motivation and attainment.

“That’s why a vital part of our Education Challenge programme focuses on supporting schools and employers to bring the world of work into the classroom.”

Students visited the InTEGRel control room, learning about the technology being used to tackle the UK’s energy challenges, while staff from Northern Gas Networks, Newcastle University, Northumbrian Water and Northern Powergrid introduced the students to a wide range of career paths within the energy sector.

The visit built on an earlier in-school event which saw businesses visit Berwick Academy to talk to students and lead a range of hands-on activities relating to the energy sector.

Rupert, a student at Berwick Academy, commented: “Having Northern Gas Networks come in to see us at school was great, but having the opportunity to see first-hand the work that they are doing right here in our region has made everything so much clearer for me. I now know even more about all the different careers that are possible and also a little bit about how to get there, with university as a likely option.”

Neil Willis added: “The North East energy sector is a strategically important sector in the region, full of opportunities for young people and it’s vital that we work closely with employers to help schools, parents and pupils to visualise a successful path into their future education and careers.”

This event was part of the North East LEP’s Education Challenge programme, which aims to reduce the gap between the North East’s best and lowest performing schools and to integrate an understanding of the world of work and career opportunities into the curriculum.

Find out more about the Education Challenge programme.