Green energy powerhouse ambitions showcased at Energy Summit

View of the ocean city of Plymouth, Devon from the drone, August 2022, a little bit cloudy day

The huge potential of the South West’s green energy credentials, and its progress in becoming the UK’s green energy powerhouse, have been showcased at a key Energy Summit in the region.

The Great South West Partnership brought together leading figures across industry and Government for the summit, held at the University of Plymouth, on Wednesday 23 November.

Karl Tucker, Interim Chair of Great South West and Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “Developing our low carbon energy assets is one of the fundamental priorities we face as a nation. The South West is already a leader in this field but through floating offshore wind, hydrogen and other opportunities will be going much much further. It’s critical to our energy security and, of course, critical for tackling climate change and critical for reducing emissions and delivering net zero. It was great to hear from experts, pioneers and key players committed to driving this forward at the Summit.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “This summit has highlighted the importance of collaboration in realising the huge potential of sustainable, green energy generation across our region. Renewable energy is crucial not just to tackling climate change on the path to net zero, but also to growing our economy by developing new industries and robust supply chains capable of meeting the opportunities ahead. Issues like skills and grid capacity transcend borders and it’s vital we work together to realise a low carbon economy. In Cornwall we have some of the best natural resources in the UK, with opportunities spanning floating offshore wind, deep geothermal and tech metals including lithium, tin and tungsten, all vital to the energy transition.”

Cecilia Bufton, Chair of the Dorset LEP, said: “This was the first Great South West Summit and it showcased very clearly our region’s green energy strengths and potential for leadership in this field. The Great South West partnership is well placed to coordinate those involved in delivering clean, affordable and sustainable energy for business and homes in the region. By working together, we also have the opportunity to become a net exporter of clean energy, related technologies and knowhow. Whilst we face numerous challenges, with a shortage of skilled workers and constrained grid infrastructure being the most cited issues, we have the scale and commitment to attract investors, and the talent to make progress across a range of solutions.”

The summit included insights from Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP; Merlin Hyman, CEO of Regen; Eric Adams, Project Director at Carlton Power; Matt Hodson, COO of Celtic Sea Power and Augusta Grand, Eden Geothermal. Delegates highlighted the region’s energy opportunities, including floating offshore wind, battery storage, hydrogen and geothermal, and explored some of the challenges facing the development of the energy sector, including improving grid capacity, building talent pipelines, and skills needs. 

Priority actions for the Great South West were identified, setting a pathway for how the partnership’s business, education and Government partners can work together on the energy agenda, and promote the Great South West regionally and nationally.