The East Midlands needs to determine which part of the future energy agenda it wants to lead if it is to attract overseas investors, an audience of business leaders heard at a conference.
Speakers at the Midlands Energy Summit, held by East Midlands Chamber in partnership with the University of Nottingham at the Hilton East Midlands Airport hotel today (1 December), emphasised the importance of the region having a clear focus when it comes to prioritising various energy strands.
Nora Senior, chair of the East Midlands Freeport, said becoming “famous” for an aspect of the green economy will help to establish clusters of businesses to accelerate innovation and create new jobs, while demonstrating a local commitment to achieving net zero will help to attract inward investment.
Many of the solutions will come from academic research and the University of Nottingham’s vice-chancellor Professor Shearer West CBE, as well as Sustainable Hydrogen Centre for Doctoral Training director Professor Gavin Walker, showcased some of its work in the areas of transport and mobility, energy generation and management, and communities and the built environment.
Future energy agenda at heart of developing Centre of Trading Excellence
East Midlands Chamber director of policy and external affairs Chris Hobson said: “With our industrial heritage, world-class research in our universities, central location and the UK’s busiest cargo airport, our region has all the raw ingredients required to be a national and international leader in the net zero economy.
“This is why we are calling the East Midlands a Centre of Trading Excellence in our new Business Manifesto for Growth, which was launched in Westminster last week and calls for Government ‘to back the East Midlands to back the UK’.
“We believe there is plenty to get behind here but there is also a lot for us to think about as a region. The East Midlands Freeport offers a fantastic opportunity to create a name for ourselves on a global stage but as we heard during the Midlands Energy Summit, we need to consider what the focus should be – whether it’s in hydrogen, battery production or aerospace, for example.
“It’s also important that as a region, we demonstrate a commitment to growing our competitiveness in the right way as this is what investors across the world want to see when they decide where to throw their backing.
“More broadly, energy security is a hot topic for many organisations as our research tells us the number one concern for businesses right now is rising energy costs, which is also the main driver of inflation.
“Businesses are eager to work in partnership with Government and the energy industry to develop a long-term energy strategy that gives them certainty about security of supply and minimises costs, which will enable firms to get on with doing what they do best in creating wealth and opportunities locally.”
Read A Centre of Trading Excellence: A Business Manifesto for Growth in the East Midlands and Beyond