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Research into the North East Offshore Wind Supply Chain reveals jobs opportunity

In conversation with Andrew Clark, Energy Lead at the North East LEP

A study commissioned by the North East LEP, and delivered by Cambridge Econometrics and Element Energy, has reinforced a major employment opportunity in the offshore wind sector.  Andrew Clark, Energy Lead at the North East LEP talks about how the findings highlight an opportunity for the North East to take a lead role in delivering national clean growth ambitions and to create more and better jobs for our region.:

What was the aim of the study?

We already know that the North East is a major global hub for the offshore energy and subsea sectors, with world leading supply chain expertise for example in subsea engineering, design, and fabrication of components such as turbine foundations, pipelines and umbilicals. We also have world-class skills and innovation capabilities, and excellent infrastructure.

We wanted to delve deeper into that area, to understand the scale of the role the region can play in delivery of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which was launched last year. The aim was also to set out a series of recommendations which will help inform how we further develop our regional cluster to best capitalise on the opportunities identified.

How was the study approached?

Engagement was at the core of this study, with contributions from key regional, national and international stakeholders in the sector and in the UK offshore wind project pipeline. With expert input the study assessed the existing strengths and capabilities of the North East sector, in the context of the existing UK and exports markets.

It then set out the national opportunity articulated as part of the sector deal, specifically in terms of employment and GVA growth based on the current and planned UK project pipeline. This was set out across all the major stages of wind farm development.

Using this information, we determined how much of this national job creation and GVA growth could be secured in the North East in the coming years, building on our existing capabilities. We explored several scenarios for growth in which different assumptions were tested in terms of the region’s future contribution in the UK domestic market, and international export markets.

What does the study tell us?

The study confirmed we should be hugely ambitious in this sector as a region, with a significant economic opportunity for the North East to create more and better jobs and build on its current position as a major global hub for offshore wind.

The study highlights that the total number of jobs created in and supported by the supply chain for offshore wind could reach 8,600 in the North East by 2025. This includes playing a significant national role in terms of the total numbers of jobs within direct sector supply chains, with growth being supported through the national offshore wind sector deal.

Even in a business as usual case, where the region does not increase any further market share, the direct supply chain could reach 3,500 jobs by 2025 representing up to £140m in GVA a growth of 150%.

However, with further strategic development, such as securing a greater share of the operations and maintenance market and specifically developing a wind turbine component supply chain locally, the number of jobs existing in the direct supply chain of the sector could reach 4,600 jobs and generate up to £180m in GVA.

Furthermore, an additional 3,000 – 4,000 jobs could be supported by the offshore wind sector through indirect supply chains and other economic impacts within the region.

Plus, an additional 2,000 – 3,000 jobs could be supported in the rest of the UK as a result of increased activity in the North East’s offshore wind sector

This clearly represents a huge opportunity for the region, demonstrating the central role the North East is already playing in delivering national growth in the sector, and how we can build on this even further.

What’s next?

To help us understand how to drive this level of ambition, the study also presented several strategic recommendations, including around skills and innovation programmes to future proof the sector, coordinating activity across partners, targeting an export offer to key markets, and supporting development of our infrastructure and supply chain.

The North East LEP will continue to work with Energi Coast, the North East’s offshore wind cluster, to work through the findings to help shape cluster development work with sector partners across the North East and Tees Valley.

Read an executive summary of the study. 

For more information on the findings of the study, please contact [email protected].

 

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Contractor sought to develop a mine energy white paper to help accelerate the delivery of mine energy schemes in the UK.

On behalf of the mine energy task force, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, (North East LEP), is looking to appoint a contractor to deliver a mine energy white paper, to help accelerate delivery of schemes in the UK.

Here, Andrew Clark, Energy Sector Lead at the North East LEP, gives us the background to the white paper:

If the UK is to achieve its carbon targets, decarbonisation of heat is one of the major challenges which must be overcome. One option is to harvest low carbon heat which is created and stored within the earth, known as geothermal heat. The North East has particular potential for this given its geology, and thanks to the region’s industrial past, a specific opportunity to access it is now being explored – mine energy.

Mine energy involves accessing the now-flooded mine shafts within abandoned coalfields. The water within the mines is geothermally heated, and if it can be extracted from the water this heat can be utilised in nearby homes, businesses or other buildings. The mines could also be used to store energy in the form of heat.

There are various examples of mine energy being used in Europe from community to city-scale, and a number of projects being developed in the North East are leading the way for the UK. Sharing what we are doing in the North East through the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, a network established by Government for LEPs to work collaboratively on energy projects, we identified other regions which were also exploring the potential of mine energy.

Like any relatively new opportunity, there are lots of things to learn from projects as they are developed and delivered. To accelerate this, the North East LEP has brought together a national ‘mine energy task force’, so far a collection of over 30 interested stakeholders from across the country who share expertise, knowledge and experiences.

The task force has identified a need for a piece of work to begin to answer some of the questions it has identified, and to set out the commercial, regulatory, market and policy interventions which are needed nationally if mine energy is to be delivered at scale. The North East LEP is now commissioning this ‘white paper’, to deliver this on behalf of the task force, with the tender now live.

Supported by the task force organisations, wider stakeholders, and by the BEIS Local Energy Hubs, the white paper will present a powerful evidence base, present substantiated recommendations, and help inform policy and delivery for mine energy.

If you are interested in participating in the task force please contact Andrew Clark.

More information on the tender can be found here. The closing date is 28 May 2020.

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North East SMEs invited to put forward solutions to global energy challenges

Businesses in the North East are being invited to put forward their solutions to global energy challenges, with funding and support on offer to help selected businesses take their ideas to the next stage of development.

The Energy Innovation Challenge is open for applications until 1 May 2020 and is supported by leading energy sector organisations from across the region.

David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP), explained: “Through the Energy Innovation Challenge we hope to support small and medium sized businesses in our region to take the lead in developing new ways of tackling some of the issues that are being faced around the world, such as the challenge of providing energy to homes and businesses while also reducing carbon emissions.”

The Energy Innovation Challenge is being backed by the North East Energy Catalyst – a new partnership which brings together organisations in the North East energy innovation, demonstration and delivery sectors.

A series of three challenges will run over the next year and a cohort of up to 10 successful businesses per challenge will be identified by an expert panel. The successful cohort will receive a programme of support to help them develop their solution and bring it to market.

Businesses will also have an opportunity to secure funding towards the development and commercialisation of their business, with Challenge partner Northstar Ventures offering £20k of investment, subject to eligibility, to 10 businesses. Participant SMEs with well-developed business cases will also be invited to submit matched grant applications for Local Growth Funding (LGF) of up to a further £20k.

David Lynch added: “This is an exciting opportunity for the region which demonstrates the added value of bringing partners together through the North East Energy Catalyst. The North East is built upon a legacy of innovation in power, from steam to electricity and now sustainable energy – we are a force to be reckoned with and now is the time to propel the North East onto the global energy stage.”

Businesses can find out how to enter the Energy Innovation Challenge at www.northeastlep.co.uk/the-plan/energy/north-east-energy-catalyst, or can email [email protected] to find out more.

ENDS

Notes to editors

North East Energy Catalyst
A ground-breaking partnership to unite the North East’s leading energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities. Facilitated by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), North East Energy Catalyst partners are: Newcastle University; Durham University; Northumbria University; Zero Carbon Futures (a subsidiary of Gateshead College); Northern Powergrid; Northern Gas Networks; The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; The British Engines Group; Innovation SuperNetwork; Northumbrian Water; The North of Tyne Combined Authority; The North East Combined Authority.

About the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas.

About the European Regional Development Fund
North East Energy Catalyst is part funded via the Innovation SuperNetwork by the European Regional Development which includes the Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters project, which is receiving up to £1.24m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

 

 

 

 

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North East SMEs invited to join Energy Innovation Challenge

North East SMEs are being invited to put forward their solutions to global energy challenges as part of the Energy Innovation Challenge. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP’s) Energy Innovation Partnership Manager, David Lynch, explains more.

Since I started working for North East LEP in the autumn of last year, I’ve been leading the North East Energy Catalyst – a new partnership which unites the North East’s leading energy innovation, demonstration and delivery capabilities. Leading the North East Energy Catalyst has given me a unique insight into the strength and breath of what this region has to offer and it has been a fascinating journey.

Now we are stepping up the delivery phase of the North East Energy Catalyst by launching an Energy Innovation Challenge Programme, supporting regional SMEs to bring forward solutions to global energy challenges.

I’m excited to be leading a series of three energy innovation challenges throughout 2020/2021, inviting SMEs within the North East LEP area to submit responses to each challenge.

A cohort of up to 10 successful businesses per challenge will be identified by an expert panel drawing on North East Energy Catalyst member expertise. The successful cohort will receive a programme of support which will help them develop their solution and bring it to market.

Our support will comprise specialist business and commercialisation advice facilitated by the North East LEP and the Innovation SuperNetwork, along with leading regional energy specialists through the North East Energy Catalyst.

In addition to this programme of support, businesses within the cohort will have an opportunity to secure funding towards the development and commercialisation of their business. Programme partner Northstar Ventures will offer £20k investment, subject to eligibility, to ten businesses across the programme. Participant SMEs with well-developed business cases will also be invited to submit matched grant applications for Local Growth Funding (LGF) of up to a further £20k.

The first challenge is centred on finding scalable solutions for decentralised and decarbonised energy. Whilst any solutions relevant to the overarching challenge are welcomed, three specific examples are provided below to help frame the type of solutions we are looking for at different scales:

  • Micro-scale: ditching diesel generators – diesel generators are commonly used by industry to provide mobile and reactive power supply for various uses, with hundreds of off-grid homes in the North East also relying on generators for power. What innovative alternative solutions may be available for domestic or commercial premises or vehicles?
  • Community-scale: power to the people – an emerging solution to bring power generation or charging infrastructure to communities is to utilise incumbent local utility infrastructure such as community buildings, sub-stations, or water/sewage pumping facilities as a hub. What innovative concepts and solutions centred around this infrastructure could provide decarbonised and decentralised energy for community use?
  • Macro-scale: commercial energy productivity – key employment sites like business parks, and development sites such as enterprise zones, can be energy-intensive and suffer from grid-constraints. What innovative, decentralised solutions could help ensure secure, affordable and sustainable energy to attract businesses, reduce their costs, and improve energy productivity?

An application form for the Challenge can be found here.

Further guidance for applicants can be found here.

Applications will be assessed by an expert panel comprising of North East Energy Catalyst partners; Northern Powergrid; the North of Tyne Combined Authority; Northumbrian Water; the North East LEP; and Innovation SuperNetwork; and programme partners Northstar Ventures.

This is an exciting time for me and my colleagues at the North East Energy Catalyst. The North East is built upon a legacy of innovation in power, from steam to electricity and now sustainable energy – we are a force to be reckoned with and now is the time to propel the North East onto the global energy stage.

 

European Regional Development Fund 

North East Energy Catalyst is part funded via the Innovation SuperNetwork by the European Regional Development which includes the Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters project, which is receiving up to £1.24m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

 

 

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Energy for Growth team expanded through new appointments

Two new appointments have been made at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to drive forward the region’s energy strategy and help to accelerate economic growth in the North East.

David Lynch joins the team as Energy Innovation Partnership Manager and Josh Sawyer has been appointed as Rural Energy Officer.

They will be working with Andrew Clark who is already in post at the North East LEP as Energy Programme Lead. Andrew said: “We have recently launched the region’s new energy strategy, Energy for Growth, which aims to bring new economic opportunities to our region. We’re now taking the strategy into delivery, and have brought in David and Josh, both with great expertise in the energy sector, to work with partners to deliver on our ambitions for the North East.”

David Lynch brings with him 15 years’ experience of working within the energy sector, including roles at National Energy Action and the Energy Systems Catapult, where he managed test and demonstration projects to deploy new low carbon technologies. He will now be working with members of the newly-formed North East Energy Catalyst, which unites the region’s leading energy partners to showcase how the North East can deliver solutions to global energy challenges.

David, who completed an MA at the University of Durham, said: “As the country moves towards achieving net zero carbon emissions, I’m looking forward to showing that the North East can be a centre of excellence in clean growth and decarbonisation through its energy assets.”

The Energy Innovation Partnership Manager role is part funded by European Regional Development Funding, via the Innovation SuperNetwork’s ‘Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters’ project.

As Rural Energy Officer, Josh Sawyer will support development and delivery of rural energy projects across the North East LEP region, addressing the specific challenges and opportunities that rural areas face, and specifically assisting community-led projects across both the North East and Tees Valley to access the Government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF). RCEF funding is being delivered via the BEIS North East Yorkshire & Humber Energy Hub, including part funding for the role.

“The North East has a large and varied rural area and I’ve worked with communities across the region in my previous roles within the energy industry,” said Josh. “Decarbonisation is a huge change which will affect all our businesses and communities over the coming years and it’s my role to make sure that our rural areas are a key part of this.”

Andrew Clark added: “Everything we do contributes towards our ultimate mission of bringing North East partners together to deliver on national energy policy and bring more and better jobs to the North East. I’m extremely happy to welcome David and Josh to the team, and looking forward to continuing our work with businesses, academia and communities across the North East.”

The North East Energy for Growth strategy identifies 13 themes where the North East can both contribute to national policy and bring more and better jobs to the region, ranging from low-emission transport to heat networks, and geothermal energy from old mine workings.

Read about the North East Energy for Growth strategy.

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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.

 

 

 

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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].

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Students at Excelsior Academy energised by Northern Powergrid partnership

Year 7 and 8 students at Excelsior Academy in Newcastle upon Tyne have been learning about the future of green and renewable energy thanks to a new partnership between the school and the region’s electricity distributor, Northern Powergrid.

Part of the North East LEP’s Education Challenge initiative, which aims to reduce the gap between the best and lowest performing secondary schools in the region, staff from Northern Powergrid have been supporting students’ curriculum-based learning with teaching and learning direct from the workplace.

Elliot Dixon, EHV Design Engineer at Northern Powergrid, visited the school to speak to pupils about the role of Northern Powergrid and its commitment to green and renewable energy.

Elliot said: “The students at Excelsior Academy really impressed me with their intelligent questions about how we deliver electricity to homes and businesses and how we respond to a power cut.

“Having the opportunity to speak to the workforce of tomorrow about Northern Powergrid and the important role we play has been a great experience for everyone involved. I hope we’ve inspired some students to come and work with us in the future.”

Hannah Cummins, Industry Alignment Manager at Excelsior Academy, said: “Having meaningful encounters with employers from the local area is something we’re committed to delivering our students.

“The Education Challenge programme expands students’ knowledge of the opportunities available to them when they leave school and it also helps them understand the skills they need for the workplace.”

Excelsior Academy is one of three schools in the region piloting the North East LEP’s Education Challenge initiative, which is built on the highly successful Ford Next Generation Learning programme currently embedded in schools across Nashville, Tennessee, and other US cities.

When introduced to Nashville schools, high school graduation rates rose by almost 23% as well as improvements in attainment, student behaviour and attendance.

For more information about Education Challenge, visit www.nelep.co.uk/skills.

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Durham University recruiting for three Energy PhD posts

Durham University is currently recruiting for three Energy PhD posts to support its work in Offshore Renewable Energy and Offshore Wind Energy.

Full details, including deadlines dates for applications, are available below. Applications can be made online at: https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/study/apply/

Vacancy for Collaborative PhD with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult

A PhD studentship is available for research into offshore investment planning under severe uncertainty, at the School of Engineering & Computing Sciences, and the Department Mathematical Sciences, Durham University. Support and active involvement will come from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, which has facilities in Blyth, Glasgow and Fife.

The aim of the project is to investigate investment planning over a wide range of technology options by formulating a set of decision problems taking into account severe uncertainties in both operational and environmental data. The potential candidate will have a good degree (normally first class or equivalent) undergraduate or MSc degree in Engineering, Mathematics, or Statistics. A good background in Statistics is required.

For more information about this opportunity please do not hesitate to contact Dr B Kazemtabrizi ([email protected]), or Dr M Troffaes ([email protected]) as soon as possible and preferably before 23rd September 2016. Proposed start date is 1st October 2016 but there is flexibility.

For further information about this opportunity go to http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AON868/phd-studentship-offshore-transmission-systems-asset-management-under-severe-uncertainty/

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Vacancy for 2 PhD studentships in Data Mining Wind Farm Operational and Maintenance data funded through DONG Energy

Off shore wind energy is one of the fastest growing sectors, with major new projects planned within European waters as well as further afield. These new wind farm developments are sited further off shore than ever before (the Round 3 wind farm projects in the North Sea are some 200km off shore).

This presents new challenges in terms of maintenance and repair: the cost of going on site is significantly greater (both financially and time).

These two linked PhD projects will develop novel data mining methods to maximise the information gathered from wind turbines’ sensor arrays. The aim is to be able to identify that a wind turbine is developing a fault well in advance of that fault becoming sufficiently severe that it prevents the wind turbine from operating. Given this advanced warning, a wind farm operator is then able to organise maintenance and identify a good weather window to carry that maintenance out.

These projects will be undertaken with close collaboration with DONG Energy (Danish Oil and Natural Gas, one of the largest wind farm operators globally).

These PhD studentships are available to Home and EU students. Please contact Dr Peter Matthews ([email protected]) for further information preferably before 30th September.

For further information go to https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=73802&LID=427

Durham University’s online application link can be found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/study/apply/