North of England capable of becoming ‘world-leader’ in green energy post-Brexit, study reveals
The North of England could become a ‘world-leader’ in the energy sector post-Brexit, exporting energy to Europe and reducing dependency on Russia, a new study has claimed.
The report from IPPR North’s ‘Northern Energy Taskforce’ stated that the North is capable of becoming a green energy giant post-Brexit.
However, the study also highlights that a failure to adapt could see the North and the wider UK economy suffer from becoming reliant on Russian gas and polluting energy sources.
The study sets-out three possible scenarios for the North of England’s energy future. The first is that the North of England becomes the driving force behind national energy production, innovation and decarbonisation, exporting its goods, energy and services across Europe.
The second scenario will see the North adapt to new technologies, but is not at the forefront of leading the world in inventing these. Finally, the third claims that a failure to invest leaves the North and wider UK dependent on its current technology mix and imports.
The report also urges the government to give the North more powers as part of its industrial strategy.
The study added that the “uncertainty” around Brexit means the UK government must set out a “framework” for how to meet the commitment to remove carbon from the economy by 2050.
The report will be launched Thursday (20th April) in parliament with speakers from both public and private sectors.
Darren Baxter, researcher at IPPR North and the report author, said: “As we leave the EU, we must do all we can to be a world-leader and create tomorrow’s green jobs. The North has fantastic potential to become the engine powering the UK economy, and if the government gives the North real powers, it could become a world-leader on green technology.
“But a failure to adapt would see all parts of the UK becoming much more dependent on foreign imports of energy. This would hugely undermine the vote to ‘take back control’.
The North led the first industrial revolution and has the potential to power a renewable revolution too.“
Richard Evans, North Energy sector lead at KPMG and Taskforce member, added: “With the right policy environment, the energy - particularly low carbon - assets and skills clustered in the North can be exploited to give the area an economic advantage in a global growth sector.
“The rationale for investment to this end is compelling in the context of the UK economy’s North/South productivity gap and subsequent requirement for rebalancing, as well as the potential it offers in support of the country’s export agenda.
“There’s no doubt energy can be a critical strand of the economic renaissance represented by the Northern Powerhouse vision and I hope this report provides a useful role in highlighting the importance of the sector.”