A coalition of northern utility companies has committed to investing £2 billion in the north each year, supporting local supply chains and securing sustainable energy and water supplies.
The coalition includes Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, Yorkshire Water and Northumbrian Water, which together make up Infrastructure North.
With a combined supply chain of over 7,000 individual businesses, a new report from the group reveals that £2 billion being invested per year in northern energy and water infrastructure is expected to generate £10 billion of additional local investment over the next five years.
Over 50 MPs attended the report launch at the House of Commons on 14 December.
James Wharton, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, described the collaboration between utilities as “the key lifeblood of the Northern Powerhouse”.
“Although each company plays a different role, they all face the same future challenges. Balancing the challenges of population growth, climate change and affordability will mean utilities need to think differently about providing their services in a sustainable way”, he said.
“Securing a sustainable energy supply for future population growth in the north is vital to meet the huge additional demand on services over the next decade. Utilities will need to continually adapt to ensure quality service is provided to this growing customer base.”
According to Infrastructure North, the four companies are already driving more than 95,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) savings per year and aim to continually invest in new technologies such as biomethane plants, smart grids and alternative sources of gas like hydrogen.
The group aims to achieve its targets for sustainable supplies through “looking for new technologies and ways of doing things that reduce our impact; working towards a low carbon economy to combat climate change; informing debate on a national level; constantly searching for new supply sources; [and] encouraging our customers to use resources in an efficient way.”
Local supply chains
Infrastructure North also aims to support more local businesses through its contracting and supply chains, with 55 per cent of its supplier expenditure currently retained in the northern region.
Tom Fielden, finance director of Northern Powergrid, said: “Since our last report two years ago, our four companies have made a significant economic impact. There are now 40 per cent more businesses in our supply chains, with 33 per cent more within the north.
“This investment is a key part of developing the northern economy as part of the Northern Powerhouse to rebalance growth across the regions in the UK.”
To read the full report, click here.