Theresa May created the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, led by secretary of state Greg Clark, but the UK ended 2016 still wondering how best to ‘keep the lights on’.
Coal and Oil
The Government confirmed the phasing out of ‘unabated’ coal by 2025 and investors divesting. Regional coal company Hargreaves Services Plc was particularly badly hit and the Banks Group pulled out of plans for an open-cast mine in Northumberland. It is reviewing its coal based activity but it is still trying with surface mining.
The future for coal based energy generation may lie with the US following the Trump election and his views on climate change. Durham based Atlantic Carbon Group is already investing in US mining.
The oil price crash also affected North East businesses such as OGN and British Engines – both have reduced their workforces as a result.
NOF Energy believes there could be an upturn in the offshore sector with the possibility of investment in the North Sea basin in 2017.
Arch and Port of Blyth’s Energy Central project is also set to provide 200 hectares of land for companies working with offshore oil and gas and low carbon sectors.
Nuclear got a boost with the Hinkley Point reactor approval, but there were cuts in subsidies for solar power and onshore wind farms during 2016.
Energy Central is to become the site of the UK Norway electricity interconnector bringing excess hydro derived electricity into the UK.
The Lynemouth power station biomass conversion is going ahead under Czech firm Energeticky.