Almost 100 industry and local government leaders from across the Northern Powerhouse region have been brought together by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) to give their insight into the future of the region’s energy industry.
Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, a member of the NPP Board – chaired by George Osborne – has been leading a series of workshops with business leaders across the North to help determine the best way the region’s existing energy infrastructure can be re-used and repurposed, as well as the economic opportunities associated with the transition to a low carbon future and how innovation could transform the region’s energy sector.
Drax Power Station based near Selby in North Yorkshire is the UK’s largest – generating 7% of the country’s electricity. Having upgraded half of the power station to be fuelled by sustainable biomass (compressed wood pellets) from coal, it is now the largest single site renewable electricity generator in the country, supplying 17% of the UK’s renewable power – enough for four million homes.
Andy Koss said: “The North has a proud history of being the country’s powerhouse and should continue to play a central role in driving the UK’s energy strategy. These workshops have demonstrated the deep knowledge, skills and expertise the region has in energy and the role technologies such as bioenergy, offshore wind and nuclear power could play in delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”
He added: “The potential for new technologies such as electric vehicles and hydrogen gas to help reduce the carbon footprint of our cities is, I believe, a huge opportunity for the region – not just in terms of potential jobs and the economic benefits, but also the positive environmental impacts associated with decarbonisation.”
The workshops are part of the work the Northern Powerhouse Partnership is leading on for its second report ‘Prime Capabilities in the North,’ which will include key recommendations on energy, as well as advanced manufacturing, health innovation and digital.
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “The energy workshops have provided the Northern Powerhouse Partnership with real insight into the future of the North’s energy sector. The unrivalled expertise in the region is one of the North’s great strengths and we will be looking in more detail at the opportunities and ideas that have come out of these sessions and how they can have a significant impact on the UK economy”.
The energy workshops Andy Koss has led have taken place in York, Hull, Warrington, Lancaster and Carlisle. The findings from these sessions will be used in the development of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s second report, due to be published in September.
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- Independent research by Oxford Economics using 2015 data showed that biomass upgrades have helped to support 14,150 jobs in the UK, 4,500 of which are in Yorkshire and Humber. In addition, Drax generated almost £500 million for the regional economy and £1.2bn for the whole of the UK.
- Our biomass supply chain runs from coast to coast – Tyne, Hull, Immingham and Liverpool – with an average of 17 biomass trains arriving per day (over a six-day working week) in order to supply us with the pellets needed to generate and supply enough renewable electricity for 4 million homes.
- The Northern Powerhouse is the hub for high tech engineering/innovation in renewables so will remain vital to future energy needs and developing a low carbon economy.
Drax Group plc plays a vital role in helping change the way energy is generated, supplied and used as the UK moves to a low carbon future. Drax operates the largest power station in the UK, based at Selby, North Yorkshire and supplies 7 percent of the country’s electricity needs. The energy firm converted from burning coal to become a predominantly biomass-fuelled electricity generator. Drax is the biggest single site renewable generator in the UK and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. Its 2,300-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
The Group includes:
Drax Biomass, based in the US and manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests.
Haven Power, based in Ipswich, providing businesses with electricity.
Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, providing electricity and gas to businesses.
Billington Bioenergy, based in Liverpool with depots across the UK, is one of the leading distributors of wood pellets for sustainable heating in the UK.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk