DECC minister Leadsom attends Northern energy summit in Leeds

Andrea Leadsom, minister of state for energy with Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Network, Roger Marsh and Robert Hull at the launch of KPMG produced Energising the North report in Leeds.

North has a unique opportunity to lead the UK’s future energy agenda

Potential to attract £billions more investment into the region, creating jobs and addressing fuel poverty

Collaboration between energy influencers regionally will be vital

The Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Andrea Leadsom MP, joined an expert panel in Leeds today (5 April) to mark the production of a new report, ‘Energising the North’.

Commissioned by the North of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and produced by KPMG, the report reveals the economic opportunity presented by existing and future energy initiatives in the North of England.

From converting Leeds to a hydrogen city, to the opportunities that the existing gas network presents to transport shale gas, the report highlights that the North of England presents a hotbed for energy innovation due to its geographical location and resources.

The minister joined an expert panel including Mark Horsley, CEO of NGN, Roger Marsh, Chair of Leeds City Region LEP, Alistair Buchanan, Partner and UK Chairman of Power & Utilities, KPMG Robert Hull, Director Power and Utilities, KPMG. They discussed the role that the North of England, and specifically Yorkshire and the North East, has to play in the future of energy including the role of gas in delivering a sustainable and affordable fuel for the future and the impact on the North of England’s economy.

Minister of State at DECC, Andrea Leadsom MP commented: “During the nineteenth century Britain emerged as a great industrial power and was viewed by many as the ‘Workshop of the World’.   Even though this was over a hundred years ago the North remains key to the UKs industrial future.

“You can see the opportunities for economic development right across the region – particularly in the energy sector as highlighted by today’s report. It’s very clear from this report that cities across the area must look to work together to take on the world as a ‘Northern Energy Powerhouse’.”

Mark Horsley, CEO for Northern Gas Networks, said: “The North of England has a unique set of characteristics that make it well positioned to act as an energy champion and address the UKs present and future energy challenges. This report shows that energy now needs to be part of this conversation and reveals the potential for the Northern economy.

He continued: “Ground breaking initiatives such as H21 Leeds City Gate and the FRESH project in Newcastle are already underway and have the potential to offer a wealth of benefits to our region. By bringing organisations with complimentary objectives together and sharing learnings we’ll be able to realise the potential of energy innovation in the North, drive investment in the region and realise the challenges of affordability, sustainability and energy security.”

Robert Hull, power and utilities director at KPMG, added: “In the context of devolution on one hand and a radically changing energy landscape on the other, it is critical for the North to have a clear strategy for maximising the new economic opportunities emerging in the sector across the entire value chain, from manufacturing, through to asset provision and customer services. Coordination and leadership will see businesses and citizens in the North exploit the greatest benefit from the significant innovation and investment in the sector.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP said: “We are reaching a point nationally, where demand for energy and the supply available are increasingly drawing closer. Whilst for now this is manageable, we are exploring the opportunities that will reduce our dependency on international markets, help us develop innovative new ways to power our region and provide clean, affordable energy – in a way that complements the strength of the North’s energy sector.

“The Leeds City Region has enormous potential to capitalise on the infrastructure, skills and innovation that can drive change and support our large industrial and manufacturing sectors in the long term. This report opens the discussion further to ensure we energise the North and enable the reindustrialisation that delivers a rebalanced and repositioned UK economy.”

The ‘Energising the North’ report will be fully launched at a regional summit later this year with industry, businesses and academia from across the North of England.  It is available to download now from www.northerngasnetworks.co.uk/futures.