Energy, Nuclear & Sustainable Power 2017
Christopher Bowes, planning partner at Nabarro, gives an overview of the sector

Energy, nuclear & sustainable power | Summary, slides + images

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“We’re on the cusp of 20 years of growth in the energy sector,” according to Rob Asquith, planning and energy director at Savills, speaking at Place North West’s Kendal event.

Energy Combo Logo NewThe half-day conference was delivered in association with Curtins and Furness Economic Development Forum. Speaking alongside Asquith was Prideri ap Rhisiart of Menai Science Park; Rhodri Owen from Horizon Nuclear Power; Robert Pinkus, senior partner, Pinkus & Co; Christopher Bowes, planning partner at law firm Nabarro; Stuart Klosinski, Furness Economic Development Forum, and Ian Storey, managing director of Story Homes Cumbria.

According to Asquith, “the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to renewable energy. It’s changed irrevocably and it’s going to change again.” The UK has seen renewable energy grow from 1.9% of energy supply in the 1990s to 15% today, largely driven by a subsidised push into wind and solar power. “Energy is hardwired into planning and development decisions,” he said.

The next opportunity, and challenge, for the sector comes in the rapid rise in demand. “There are 30 million private cars in the UK, if they all go electric that’s a massive demand for energy. More people, more houses, more gadgets; it all pushes up energy requirements.”

Asquith pointed to long-term power generation options such as tidal lagoons as an answer to the energy problem. “Tidal lagoons are long term assets which will be generating power for 100 years, and we should look at funding over that length of life cycle. With tidal power, we have the issue of a large amount of power coming online and storing that, but it is incredibly predictable.”

Other speakers gave an overview of the vast array of projects in the energy sector in the pipeline.

Christopher Bowes, Nabarro

  • Law firm Nabarro’s Future of Energy survey showed biggest challenge is transport turning to electric power, and predicted solar would become main form of energy generation across the globe
  • In Government’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan to 2021, energy projects are focused on nuclear, gas, and offshore wind
  • Pipeline is heavily front-loaded at the pre-application stage, no projects at critical examination stage
  • Risk that Planning Inspectorate will be overwhelmed by projects reaching later phase
  • Announcements coming from Trump’s office will impact energy sector as US President wants to invest more in coal industry, but this presents opportunity for investment in carbon capture technology to balance out air quality

Rhodri Owen, Horizon Nuclear Power

  • Horizon’s lead project is at Wylfa Newydd in Anglesey, plans for new nuclear power station, next to former Magnox Wylfa Power Station which is being decommissioned
  • £1bn investment in Anglesey on new infrastructure
  • 1,000-acre site that Horizon has acquired or has option on
  • Hitachi Nuclear Energy funding but need other backers too
  • In discussions with UK Government and Government of Japan on financial support models
  • Working on planning and environmental permits, supply chain development and engineering design
  • Targeting 2018 consent, for early 2019 final investment decision, and first electricity generation by first half of 2020s

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, project manager, M-SParc

  • Menai Science Park, known as M-SParc, being delivered on Anglesey in partnership with Bangor University
  • Goal of creating sustainable science park
  • £21m investment from Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund
  • Part of the Anglesey Enterprise Zone
  • 20-acre site, seven plots, outline consent for 230,000 sq ft of buildings, option on additional land
  • First building is on site, a 50,000 sq ft, open innovation space and co-working space with labs and offices. Completion due in January 2018
  • According to Rhisiart, M-SParc is in discussions with several companies from around the globe interested in locating on the Science Park. “The key drivers for their interest stem from other investments that are planned for the island at the moment but the area, the lifestyle, the food, history, culture and everything else that comes with living and working in this part of the world forms a big part of the draw as well.”

Stuart Klosinski, Furness Economic Development Forum

  • “Energy is the driving force for the sustainable economy, for the foreseeable future,” Klosinksi said
  • Huge range of projects planned for Cumbria
  • Defence nuclear a massive growth opportunity, more people employed in energy production in defence sector than civil
  • BAE Systems’ development of nuclear submarines at Barrow alone could add £4bn to the GVA, which equates to 8% of the overall Northern Powerhouse target
  • Other key projects in the region present supply chain opportunities, such as Barrow Waterfront Business Park, serving BAE and Port, a 350,000 sq ft business park under construction
  • Five wind farms starting on site in Cumbria this year, with associated projects such as Dong Energy building a new base
  • Sir Robert McAlpine building £40m paint manufacturing facility at Barrow-in-Furness
  • GSK planning a £20m energy centre in Ulverston
  • In pipeline to 2045, there is a “tremendous amount of opportunities for supply chain and infrastructure”, Klosinski said

Ian Storey, Story Homes

  • Housebuilder sees big opportunity in developing homes for the aspirational market, presented by the workers in the energy, nuclear and sustainable sector
  • Currently develops 800 houses a year, 400 of which are out of Carlisle office
  • “Opportunity presented by the nuclear sector is great, with the quality of jobs in the room, and the pay that comes with those jobs”, said Storey
  • However, challenge is that in a sparsely populated part of the world, the skills shortage may impact on delivery of opportunities in energy sector

Rob Pinkus, Pinkus & Co

  • Agency operating around Lancashire and Cumbria
  • “We’re seeing a real shortage in business space, we need more space built and speculatively,” Pinkus said
  • Companies in energy sector want a choice of space, challenge is convincing developers to make the decision prior to demand being known
  • Risk to housing sector is educated workforce could relocate closer to bases
  • Some commercial projects underway, Lancashire Energy HQ under construction at Blackpool Airport
  • Managing two 20,000 sq ft requirements from energy call centres
  • Pinkus said: “We need to convince developers demand is there for new properties, and encourage local authorities to make land available that is usable”

To view the presentations from the day, click here

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