12 October 2017
Simon Sjenitzer, Director of Energy & Climate Change Business Development at WYG, comments on the landmark report by the Northern Energy Taskforce, released today, to which he has contributed.
We are hugely proud to have sponsored and contributed to the development of this report along with a number of other high-profile organisations with expertise across infrastructure engineering, finance academia and local government.
The report is deliberately designed to address these three sets of stakeholders: national, regional and local. It calls upon the government to devolve powers and decision making to trusted and transparent regional and local institutions better placed to implement delivery, as the next logical step.
The North retains a higher proportion of manufacturing and industrial sector businesses and it is recognised that these also underpin low carbon aspirations such as steel for wind turbines, chemicals for battery storage and hydrogen production facilities. The industrial legacy, experience and exploitation of natural gas within the region lends itself to asking for the reinvigoration of technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage, Hydrogen for heating and, of course, promoting our Nuclear waste management and environmental clean-up capability, as we are already recognised internationally as the Centre of Nuclear Excellence.
Ahead of the Industrial Strategy Green paper and proposed industry sector deals, this business led study, supported by our leading regional energy skills and regulatory bodies, provides a fascinating and compelling vision.
The North is clearly capable of underpinning our nation’s energy transition through supporting business development, innovation and, finally, addressing the energy trilemma of providing low carbon generation and energy security at an affordable cost to all.
The vision set out by the report details how devolving the carbon budget to the North of England as part of a Clean Growth Plan could create up to 100,000 jobs and add £15 billion to the economy.
From historic, geographic and geological good fortune, the North retains energy assets, resources and skills which have powered the economy since the industrial revolution. As we wean ourselves away from reliance on fossil fuels, we are again best placed to lead the way to demonstrate that sometimes top-down policy can be too slow and cumbersome in its implementation when compared to a vibrant and devolved model with the mandate to deliver.
This paper coherently sets out the rationale to form Energy for the North (EfN), a strategic oversight body sitting alongside a Northern Energy Accelerator which will deliver innovation from concept to commercialisation. The call for a Northern Energy Compact will establish a Carbon Budget to help achieve the energy system transition. To help underpin this, we need to see retention of regional receipts from the Carbon Floor Price (CFP) and Emissions Trading System (ETS).
Whilst we are a company with global reach, we are firmly anchored in the North and by helping our clients create and then manage their assets, we understand our part to play in helping to achieve a better protected and resource efficient environment, vibrant and progressive economy and enhanced social benefits for our people.
IPPR Report just out: A Northern Energy Strategy. A call to Gov’t for the next logical step in ‘power’ devolution