The North West could become an energy super giant post-Brexit, exporting energy to Europe and reducing our dependency on Russia, a major new study concludes.
The report from IPPR North’s Northern Energy Taskforce – which looks at the future of the energy sector – says the area has the potential to become a world-leader in green energy, if the right powers are transferred post-Brexit.
But it warns that a failure to adapt could see the region 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 energy future.
Energy leader – in which the region becomes the driving force behind national energy production, innovation and decarbonisation, exporting its goods, energy and services across Europe.
Technological adaptor – in which the North adapts to new technologies, but is not at the forefront of leading the world in inventing these.
Energy drifter – a failure to invest leaves the region and UK dependent on its current technology mix and imports.
The report urges government to give the region more powers as part of its industrial strategy – its blueprint for the UK’s economy as we leave the EU. The study adds 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.
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 it real powers, it could become a world-leader on green technology.
“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, said: “With the right policy environment, the energy - particularly low carbon - assets and skills clustered here can be exploited to give the area an economic advantage in a global growth sector.”