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North East bid to be 'clean energy capital'

Date 13 Jun 2007
Author The Editor

A high-powered delegation visits the North East today to assess the region's bid to lead the UK's billion pound clean energy development programme. The bid's backers say that success could mean the North East reclaiming its title of 'energy capital' of the UK. The North East has already made a shortlist of five to host the Energy Technologies Institute, which will spearhead national research and development.

The bid has been tabled by a consortium of Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham Universities, the New and Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC) at Blyth in Northumberland and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in the Tees Valley, with support from the regional development agency One NorthEast and the regional Science and Industry Council.

Newcastle University and NaREC are hosting today's fact-finding visit by a team of executives from energy companies Shell and E.ON, industrial equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (the Government's research funding agency).

Professor Paul Younger, HSBC Professor of Energy and Environment at Newcastle University, leader of the North East consortium, said: “If we are selected to host the ETI, the region will have the chance to re-established itself as the energy capital of the UK, with clear potential to create hundreds of high quality jobs. North East companies and research centres would have fantastic opportunities to collaborate with major players in a booming technology sector in this country and abroad.

Dr Graham Hillier, Director Fuel Cell Applications at the Centre for Process Innovation, at the Wilton Centre in Redcar, said: “The North East of England has a unique combination of internationally recognised research universities, energy focused innovation centres, natural energy resources and commercial production plants that supply and support energy supply to the domestic, commercial and transport sectors. “It is a fantastic opportunity to catapult the UK and the region back to the forefront of international development so we can prepare ourselves for the changes in the supply and use of energy in the future.”

The other four shortlisted bidders for the ETI are the Midland Consortium, North West Consortium, Scottish Partnership and Sheffield University.�

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