The energy sector has long been of central importance to the North East, with a rich history of extraction and infrastructure development in the energy industries. And Alex Cunningham has challenged the sector to recognise the potential for rejuvenation by delivering jobs and growth in renewables across the region.
Hosting an event in Westminster on behalf of Energi Coast, the steering group for the North East of England’s offshore renewables sector, aimed at showcasing the region’s offshore renewables supply chain, the Stockton North MP invited attendees to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
The North East has an extensive integrated supply chain within the renewable energy sector, along with the skills, innovation and technology to support offshore renewables developments both domestically and internationally. But many jobs and billions of pounds in investment associated with the development of wind farms have been exported overseas despite Teesside’s long tradition of engineering.
The Labour Member of Parliament spoke of the challenges facing the region in ensuring local communities benefit from the development, construction, installation and service jobs available in the industry, and laid down the gauntlet to attract business and make the North East a global hub for offshore renewables.
“I was delighted to sponsor the reception on behalf of Energi Coast. The offshore sector contributes significantly to the North East of England’s economy and brings training, investment and well-paid, highly skilled jobs to the region.
“It is very important that awareness of the region’s capabilities is raised. The message to MPs from this event will be that the North East’s offshore sector has the capacity and skills to facilitate growth in the industry and drive growth in coastal and port communities.”
“It is also important that we recognise the continued centrality of the North East region to the energy security of the UK, with expertise in coal, oil and gas now evolving and being transferred into the offshore renewables sector.”
Joanne Leng, Deputy Chair of Energi Coast, said: “The reception effectively displayed the integrated offshore renewables and subsea supply chains that has been built in the North East and how they can play a significant role in the development of the growing offshore renewables industry.”