COP26 Day 4 – Energy
Today’s focus of COP26 is Energy. Accelerating the global energy transition is essential if we are to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5oC. Energy Day will bring together governments, businesses, investors and organisations from across the world to demonstrate that the shift to clean power is inevitable and rapidly accelerating, an end to unabated coal power is now within reach, and that people and their livelihoods are at the heart of this transition.
We will hear how countries are increasing their climate ambition and celebrate action to make clean energy accessible and affordable and to improve energy efficiency.
At the headline event of the presidency programme, global leaders and non-state actors will come together to announce ambitious progress in the coal to clean power transition and discuss how to work together to accelerate the delivery of a just and inclusive energy transition.
Subsequent events will be hosted by the Energy Transition Council and Powering Past Coal Alliance to discuss new measures to scale up clean power more quickly and the priority actions to put us on a path to net zero whilst ensuring access to affordable sustainable energy for all.
Within the North East, a recent government report on Net Zero North East identified that the North East could benefit from the transition to Net Zero over and above the benefits accrued at a national level. This is driven primarily by potentially higher investments in the energy and electricity sector in the North East. There is a real optimism around the opportunities for the North East as the region transitions towards Net Zero. In real terms, analysis showed that this could mean a potential increase of £830 million to annual direct gross value added by 2050, and 13,500 direct jobs in the Energy and Electricity sector.
Incredible achievements are already happening in the North East. In Blyth, the North Sea Link Interconnector was launched in October this year. The 720 kilometre subsea interconnector in the longest in the world, linking the UK and Norway to enable the sharing of and access to, cleaner, safer and renewable energy.
Britishvolt, the leading UK battery cell technology specialist teamed up with Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities to benefit from their world-leading expertise.
The partnership will see the three universities providing Britishvolt with support in R&D and innovation with the view to becoming the educational providers of choice moving forward.
Britishvolt’s gigaplant is based in Northumberland and they remain on track to start production of world-class lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications by the end of 2023.
Northern Gas Networks have built two Hydrogen Homes, powered entirely by renewable energies – you can watch the video below
They’re also trialling a hybrid energy initiative in Gateshead. You can learn more about the HyDeploy blending project here
Wind is an ideal source of renewable and green energy, the North East is a great example of an offshore wind cluster. It is already home to several projects with more in planning and construction phases, and is also home to some of the key infrastructure required to support a successful offshore wind supply chain. At the heart of this is the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s testing facilities in Blyth, and the North East is also home to the World’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank.
Tom Nightingale is the North East Stakeholder Manager for Equinor – you can read more about Offshore Wind Clusters in his blog here.
Tom is hosted a Lunch and Learn presentation for NEECCo earlier today – you can watch his presentation here and learn about Dogger Bank in the video below.
Finally, the East Coast Cluster has been selected by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as one of the UK’s first two carbon capture and storage projects. The collaboration between Northern Endurance Partnership, Net Zero Teesside and Zero Carbon Humber aims to remove nearly 50% of all UK Industrial cluster CO2 emissions.
Of course, green energy requires green finance and Finance for Sustainable Growth (F4SG) are focussing their efforts on the North East of England to create a supportive environment for innovative UK companies, helping them source scale-up finance as they develop and commercialise green and sustainable solutions.
From July 2021, a 12 month F4SG pilot is being run in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, Northern Accelerator and Northstar Ventures. Showcasing the North East’s green enterprise to a wider investor base, and intensifying connections to London and its global network, it aims to boost the flow of green investment to the region and to reinforce its ecosystem for nurturing sustainable business.
You can read more about their work and North East Energy Catalyst here.
Businesses and organisations within the region are also making energy changes for a more sustainable future. In 2017, Sage Gateshead became a member of Gateshead District Energy Scheme. Since then, they have saved 4% on the costs of their annual energy bill and significantly lowered the carbon footprint of their building. You can read their case study here.
Finally, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust won an Investors in the Environment award for best carbon reduction in 2020. You can learn more here. They have just published their annual Sustainability Report for 2020-2021 which can be read here.