Hi-tech firms in Ellesmere Port are part of a new initiative designed to unlock over 33,000 jobs and £7bn in capital investment.
Energy and property businesses have combined to brand a range of assets stretching from the town to Runcorn, along with other sites capable of welcoming further development, as an Energy Innovation District.
The district has been established by the Cheshire Energy Hub, an industry funded and led multi-engineering/science partnership between international Cheshire based companies.
Locally members include C-Tech Innovation and EA Technology on the Capenhurst Technology Park, Encirc at Elton, Essar Oil UK at Stanlow, Protos alongside the M56 and Urenco and Capenhurst Nuclear Services, also at Capenhurst, together with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the borough council and the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park.
Other members include Peel Environmental which owns, manages and develops property in the waste, minerals and energy technology industries.
The overarching aim of the ‘clustering’ of energy assets is said to be to provide secure, low-carbon and low-cost local energy from the north west, unlocking over 33,000 jobs and £7bn in capital investment with close to 1,200 acres of development land available.
It is anticipated the move will stimulate about £2.3bn into the region each year.
Ged Barlow, energy hub chairman and managing director at C-Tech Innovation, said: “The Energy Innovation District is a British first, a place where energy generators are working hand-in-hand with business to attract investment, boost productivity and increase the competitiveness of our industries.
“It will embrace and develop new technologies across a range of generation methods and actively explore how this can directly benefit industry.
“Energy usage is at the bedrock of successful enterprise and manufacturing. We’re encouraged by the Government’s support for integration as part of the industrial strategy and the district responds directly to this need for a more coordinated approach.”
Christine Gaskell, chairman of the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “Energy is increasingly a top priority for business. We have a strong set of energy generation assets and expertise which means that we are perfectly placed to develop the UK’s first energy innovation district.
“This will put the region at the forefront nationally in ensuring that we can provide stable, secure and affordable energy to businesses.”
The firms say they will seek to make advances in areas such as heat networks, low-carbon transport, electricity networks, the hydrogen economy and energy storage.
They are working with the Government to establish a national blueprint for how energy and industry work together.
Part of the new district is already covered by the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone which includes some of the most significant national and international science based businesses and research establishments.
The energy industry in Cheshire and Warrington is said to already employ 31,000 people in 7,000 businesses.