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Energy specialists appointed to accelerate low carbon projects in the North East

Two energy sector specialists have recently joined the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to help accelerate energy projects which will speed up the North East’s journey towards decarbonisation, while also bringing jobs and investment to the region.

Marissa Granath and Bobo Ng are Programme Managers for the North East LEP’s new Energy Accelerator programme, developed in partnership with the North of Tyne Combined Authority and the region’s seven local authorities, to push forward projects including low carbon heating technologies like heat networks and heat pumps, and other renewable technologies such as mine energy.

Andrew Clark, Energy Programme Lead at the North East LEP, said: “We know that we have a really strong pipeline of energy projects in our region which have the potential to improve people’s lives, reduce carbon emissions and create more and better jobs. However, not enough of these ideas were progressing to the stage where they’re ready to gain investment and be delivered.

“That’s why we created the Energy Accelerator, to help our colleagues in local and combined authorities take a concept and form it into a business case that’s ready for investment.”

Marissa and Bobo will provide extra capacity, funding and expertise to push projects forward, working as an extension of the local authority teams. They will also facilitate collaborative working between the local authorities, for example by bidding for investment as a collective.

£900,000 of grant funding will be available through the programme to help local authorities commission specialists where required, and the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has matched this funding with close to £400,000 for local authorities in the North of Tyne area. The Accelerator will also align closely to NTCA’s Green New Deal fund, to be launched soon, supporting projects from the area to bring forward business cases for funding where appropriate.

The Energy Accelerator will also help develop the region’s energy supply chain, helping North East businesses to access opportunities to supply new energy projects and attracting supply chain businesses to invest in the region, particularly in the heat networks sector where the region is working with Government to lead the sector.

After completing a degree in civil engineering, Marissa Granath worked for one of the big five energy companies before moving to a role at Gateshead Council, developing and operating low carbon projects.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity and the world we live in. We have to move to low carbon energy. This creates a huge opportunity for our region to lead the way and there will be so many opportunities for businesses, and for people to find jobs and train in the skills needed for the green energy future,” said Marissa. “I’m really looking forward to bringing these low carbon projects to life.”

A Chartered Building Services/Mechanical Engineer with a PhD in geothermal energy, Bobo Ng brings with her a specialist knowledge of building performance and renewable technologies optimisation.

“Considering the geographic advantages in this region including the North East coast, coal mine legacy, deep geothermal potential and the rivers Tyne and Wear, the opportunities for the green energy sector are huge,” said Bobo. “I’m really excited about using my academic background to have a positive impact on the North East’s carbon reduction agenda.”

The Energy Accelerator is funded by the North East LEP, the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Durham County Council, Sunderland City Council, Gateshead Council and South Tyneside Council.