Newcastle is at the forefront of the green energy transition. We have been identified by the Department for International Trade as a High Potential Opportunity for heat decarbonisation, owing to the £500m pipeline of heat networks planned across the region. We are pioneers in offshore wind research and operation, home to the offshore renewable energy catapult and close to Dogger Bank- the worlds largest offshore wind farm. We are also leading the way in Electrification, attracting significant investment in lithium ion battery production; the UK’s first three gigaplants will all be in the North East. Our region is an exemplar for green and blue hydrogen, with the UK’s first blended hydrogen trial recently taking place in Gateshead across 1000 homes.
Our region is home to over 5,000 energy-related businesses, employing close to 30,000 people. In fact, the North East has the largest concentration of energy-related companies of any English region. We’re home to global giants such as Siemens, TechnipFMC, and Bridon Bekaert. Our energy sector is supported by an extensive research and education base. There are 67,000 STEM students across the region, almost 10,000 of whom study engineering and technology subjects; 9.6% of the region’s total students – the highest proportion of any UK region.
Newcastle is a research city hosting many national research centres, which are tackling key challenges in the decarbonisation of national and international energy systems, including the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), the EPSRC North East Centre for Energy Materials (NECEM), and Northumbria University’s Energy Futures research community. The city is a Living Lab where researchers work with industry to trial new low carbon technologies, products and systems. Nowhere is this more visible than at Newcastle Helix, a landmark development in the heart of the city bringing together university, business and residents to trial innovative urban technologies. This includes smart buildings, microgrids, the UK’s first City Centre electric vehicle ‘filling station’, and low carbon district heating.