CEO, North East England Chamber of Commerce

The North East Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of British business in the North East of England, is delighted to be supporting Team Norway’s Energetic Future event. This exciting two-day event will offer businesses from the North East and Norway opportunities to connect, talk and plan for a more sustainable, more resilient future.

The North East is the perfect location for this year’s event, as a region renowned for its green innovation and leadership in low carbon industries. At Dogger Bank we have the world’s largest offshore wind farm – a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Norway’s Equinor and Vårgrønn. The UK and Norway also now share renewable energy for the first time following the commissioning of the world’s longest subsea electricity interconnector, the North Sea Link. The EUR1.6bn investment marks a major milestone in the UK’s journey to net zero, anchored here on the North East coast. Stretching from Blyth in Northumberland to Kvilldal in Norway, it’s emblematic of the strong international partnerships between Norway and the region, directly supporting the UK’s ambition to be a clean energy super power.

Energetic Future will build on these assets by looking at new and emerging technologies, as well as how together we can support the skills transition needed to make sure we can deliver the 15% growth in green jobs anticipated this decade. It will also explore energy security and resilience, critical issues to our members here in the North East, where last year energy costs were consistently the biggest economic concern regardless of sector or specialism. Now more than ever is the time to be talking, acting and trading with partners in Norway and beyond on the opportunities afforded by our local carbon future.

The North East of England is a region set to be at the centre of new energy technologies and the new industries developing at pace. The region has established expertise in the offshore wind sector and is pivotal in the manufacture, service and maintenance of the North Sea facilities being geographically closer than any other. The industry has built on the expertise at the blade testing facility in Blyth and is now attracting significant players with new manufacturing facilities being constructed on the Tyne and the Tees.

However, it is not just in offshore wind where the region stands on the cusp of a technological leap forward. Hydrogen technology is gathering pace and the North East of England has all the components needed to turn the region into a world leader. The region has the connections to offshore wind generation, the right geology, grid infrastructure and engineering expertise to service the rapidly growing demand for green hydrogen. This builds on decades of expertise in manufacturing blue hydrogen as part of the process sector.

The region is also developing a world-class Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) capability on Teesside, with one of the first facilities in the world capturing carbon from multiple industrial producers and sequestering it under the North Sea. This is a pioneering partnership between oil companies, the process sector and the government, and will prove the technology can be utilised on an industrial scale, leading to a significant reduction in the UK’s industrial carbon emissions.

The Chamber’s International Team will be front and centre at the event. Our International Team plays a central role in helping businesses explore and secure new markets and opportunities. With some of the highest rates of customs activity across the British Chambers of Commerce network, we know the strong appetite that exists for more opportunities to connect and trade into Norway and beyond.

The Port of Tyne and partners in Newcastle and Gateshead, including the North East Chamber of Commerce, look forward to welcoming you to a stimulating and diverse set of events and activities. Join us and be part of the conversation.