Charles Hendry
Tom Keighley

Member Article

North East should make carbon capture its jewel says former Energy Minister

The North East has the chance to become a world-leader in carbon capture and offshore wind energy operations, a former Energy and Climate Change Minister has told the region’s sector bosses.

Speaking at the NOF Energy annual conference in Gateshead, Charles Hendry MP, also hinted the region should be involved in the development of nuclear power opportunities, much like the recent EDF plans laid in Somerset.

Mr Hendry was speaking on behalf of the government at the regional sector event, and emphasised the need for energy security planning.

The conservative politician said the North East was well placed to establish itself as a leader in carbon capture - a technology that could be exported worldwide.

Mr Hendry replied: “Few countries have been as blessed with the facilities to take carbon capture forward. We’ve got the workforce who are used to working in the challenging conditions of the North Sea; and we’ve got the the depleted oil and gas fields for the storage of carbon.”

Mr Hendry told Bdaily that RES’s recent withdrawal from a proposed multi-million pound biomass plant in Blyth was a consequence of overwhelming demand for government financing in energy projects.

He said: “The government had a huge number of projects to come through the Final Investment Decision Enabling Process for Renewables, and there were many more projects than could be afforded.

“Consequently there had to be a cap on the amount, and for those projects that didn’t make it - it is hugely frustrating.

“It’s taken a lot of time and money to take the projects to that stage, but on the positive side, from a national perspective, it shows just how many renewables projects there are in the pipeline - it’s a dynamic sector.”

Journalist Peter McCusker asked Mr Hendry what the government could do to ensure energy supply chain fabrication work would stay in the North East, and not disappear overseas.

He said: “We can exert moral power but we don’t have any legal tools at the moment. However, we can prove that by the time firms have had a management team out in the far east and the associated costs of rectifying mistakes are factored in, the UK becomes very cost competitive.

“For example, the EnQuest project in the North East (the floating storage vessel currently on the Tyne) is a piece of work that started in Germany but was brought closer to its field of operation.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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