With the highly publicised establishment of the North as a ‘Global Powerhouse’, I have been delighted to see that energy security is high on that agenda. No matter what your personal preferences may be with regard to the energy mix, the current innovation and technology advancements - be it in shale gas, nuclear or renewables - are clear indicators that the sector is being taken seriously.
In the North, the new Conservative government has pledged that it will “continue to support the safe development of shale gas, and ensure that local communities share the proceeds through generous community benefit packages.” It has also said that it will “create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, so that the shale gas resources of the North are used to invest in the future of the North.” Developing shale in the North could drive £30 billion in economic activity and create circa 13,000 jobs, according to an industry study. With George Osborne being a big supporter of the Northern Powerhouse plan, shale could soon become a reality.
At the same time, Manchester has been selected as the European City of Science 2016, alongside a £235 million investment in Advanced Materials at the University of Manchester that will support applications in Energy, Healthcare and Transport. The £31 million investment for energy security and innovation observing systems to develop our home grown energy supply, announced by the Chancellor, should also be recognised.
The North is not the only driving force. With the Energy Systems Catapult (a £60 million investment plan to accelerate growth in areas such as thermal energy and energy storage) heading for Birmingham, the Midlands also has its sights set on becoming the leading force behind the UK’s long-term energy strategy.
Following several challenging years of investment, fuelled by regulatory uncertainty, this level of vibrancy and competition makes it a very exciting time to be recruiting the senior leaders who will deliver our future energy hub.
Victoria Jordan is a Consultant in the Berwick Partners Energy Practice. She specialises in recruiting talented leaders for senior management positions across the sector.