University hosts opportunity to showcase region’s energy capabilities
Businesses, public sector representatives and academics gathered at Thornton Science Park to showcase the energy sector assets and expertise the region has to offer and their role in a sustainable future.
More than 130 people attended the pioneering site near Ellesmere Port to hear from a number of organisations involved in developing future energy systems to secure an affordable and green energy supply in the UK.
The conference was organised by the University of Chester, which owns Thornton Science Park, and highlighted the North West’s ambition to become the host of Innovate UK’s Energy Systems Catapult. Attendees were able to tour the region’s world class test and demonstration facilities and see for themselves its ready access to natural resources including offshore, wind, tidal, oil and gas.
Speakers included representatives from the region’s universities, the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) based in Ellesmere Port, Electricity North West, EA Technology, the Cheshire and Warrington Enterprise Partnership and the skills body for science-based industries – Cogent.
Charlie Woodcock, senior executive director of the Strategic Projects Office at the University of Chester, said: “This conference was an opportunity for the North West to showcase the strength of partnership working across the energy sector, and to raise the profile of the North West as the best place to locate the proposed Energy Systems Catapult development”.
Paul Barnfather, technical director at EA Technology, based in Capenhurst, said: “Network operators are determined to adopt smart technologies that deliver lower costs in the future. From electric cars to energy storage and solar panels, we need a clear vision for the technologies that will improve our energy networks so we can meet our energy needs.
“Consumer behaviour has a huge impact on our energy infrastructure. For example, if each household in the UK replaced one incandescent bulb with an energy saving one, this would reduce our electrical power requirements by an amount equivalent to that produced by a nuclear power station. This example shows how small, collective actions can have significant effects.”
Philip Cox, chief executive of the Cheshire and Warrington Enterprise Partnership, said: “The North West is home to a number of significant science and energy assets. The Thornton site represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity presented to the University of Chester by Shell to create a new science and engineering facility. There are fantastic research and development opportunities for new and existing firms. It also represents a major opportunity for the region, its companies and its people.”
Summing up the day, EA Technology chief executive Robert Davis, said: “There have been huge advances in our industry. Now is the time for businesses in the energy sector, government bodies and academics to collaborate to describe and deliver integrated energy systems across the UK.”
Conference sponsors included the University of Manchester, Lancaster University, the University of Bolton, EA Technology, Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership, the University of Salford and the University of Liverpool.
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