UK: Energy Minister Visits Tees Valley
Energi Coast took part in a Tees Valley Unlimited-hosted visit by Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon MP, who saw first-hand how the area is capitalising on new business opportunities.
During his time in Tees Valley, Mr Fallon toured the UK’s largest advanced gasification energy-from-waste plant and a leading safety training facility, as well as meeting representatives from the renewable technology sector and business leaders.
Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said:
“It has been very encouraging to witness first-hand the economic progress within Tees Valley and how companies in the area are at the forefront of emerging technologies and markets.
“What I have seen today is a clear sign that when Government and business work in partnership, Tees Valley firms have the ambition, talent and ability to succeed.
“We are committed to helping industry grow and prosper right across the UK, with targeted schemes such as Enterprise Zones and the Regional Growth Fund.”
Mr Fallon’s Tees Valley visit comprised:
- A visit to the world’s largest advanced gasification energy-from-waste plant, which is being built by Air Products at Billingham on part of the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone
The facility, which involves a £300m investment, will provide enough reliable, controllable and renewable electricity to power the equivalent of up to 50,000 homes. It has created around 700 jobs during its construction and there will be 50 permanent positions once it enters commercial operation, expected next year (2014).
It will divert up to 350,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste from landfill per year helping to meet the UK’s waste diversion targets, as well contributing to the UK’s renewable energy targets.
- A tour of Falck Safety Services, based at Haverton Hill, Billingham, which offers training for sectors including the offshore and renewable energy industries. Mr Fallon also watched a training drill involving a giant wind training tower.
Falck provides training for delegates from the oil and gas, renewables, shipping, defence and aviation industries worldwide. It can also provide advanced fire fighting training globally. In addition, Falck offers consultancy services regarding safety, contingency plans and crisis management, especially for the offshore sector and petrochemical industry.
Stephen Catchpole, TVU Managing Director, said: “Hosting a visit to Tees Valley by the Business and Energy Minister has allowed us to showcase the type of internationally-renowned, innovative and ambitious companies that we are attracting to our Enterprise Zone.
“We also were able to demonstrate how the area is taking advantage of opportunities from emerging sectors, how activities that will create a high value, low carbon economy are being co-ordinated and how we are working with a range of partners and stakeholders to create a diverse economic base.
“Government support is making a significant difference to our ability to deliver growth and prosperity in Tees Valley.”
Briefings were held with:
- Energi Coast, the North East of England’s Renewable Group, which is made up of a steering group of more than 25 companies from the region.
- The Tees Valley Carbon Capture and Storage network, which is aiming to lower industrial emissions, enhance the competitiveness of key industries, and develop a competitive location to invest in new plants.
- The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC).
Damian Meadows, Air Products European Asset Manager, said: “We were delighted that the Minister accepted an invitation to tour our site and see how our facility will use the most advanced gasification technology in the world to generate renewable power.
“The plant will provide a more sustainable way of managing and disposing of waste as well as helping the UK diversify its electricity supply sources.”
Colin Leyden, Managing Director of Falck Safety Services, said: “As one of the world’s leading providers of health and safety and survival training and offshore services, we were delighted to showcase the strength of our position in our marketplace and the quality of our training assets and expert staff to the Minister.”
Alex Dawson, Chairman of Energi Coast, said: “The Minister’s visit afforded us the opportunity to further raise awareness of the investment made by the integrated supply chain that operates out of the region and how the North East has the skills, innovation and technology to support offshore renewables developments in both domestic and international waters.”
James Ramsbotham, NECC Chief Executive, said: “It is important that businesses in the region are able to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing them to influential Government representatives as well as highlight the contribution that the area is able to make to the country’s economic wellbeing.”
Picture to the right shows: left to right, Alex Dawson (Energi Coast), Michael Fallon MP, Niel Rennie (Falck Safety Services) and Stephen Catchpole (Tees Valley Unlimited) in front of the offshore wind training tower at Falck Safety Services.
Press release, September 16, 2013; Image: Energi Coast