New energy blueprint puts the North’s ‘Golden Triangle’ on the global map for property investment
LANDMARK initiative that could cut energy costs by 20% for industrial users in the North West has been showcased at the world’s biggest property and investment festival.
It is thought the emerging scheme – dubbed the Energy Innovation District – will put Cheshire at the forefront of securing investment from energy-intensive industry and disruptive technology companies locating to the UK.
Cheshire’s play to become a hub for energy generation and consumption was the subject of an Energy Breakfast at MIPIM this morning, sponsored by Peel Environmental. The event at the Cannes-based conference brought Peel together with the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), leading property agents GVA, and international law firm Addleshaw Goddard to discuss the future opportunities for the North West.
Peel is one of the leading forces of the Cheshire Energy Hub, a collective of energy-focused businesses behind the Energy Innovation District concept.
Myles Kitcher, Managing Director at Peel Environmental, said:
“The Energy Innovation District will break down the barriers between how indigenous energy is generated, distributed and consumed in the North West – a big part of that is attracting new businesses to the region. The target is to reduce energy costs by 20% for businesses in the district by investing in smarter distribution networks direct from the energy source.
“There’s no doubt, this will have significant impact on Cheshire’s ability to drive energy-intensive businesses to the North’s own golden triangle of Cheshire, Liverpool and Manchester. We’re making that a reality at our Protos development site, which sits at the heart of the district and is a real focal point.”
The discussion saw panellists tackle the need for the region to sell its successes and assets to global investors. They touched on land values, access to two international airports and close links to academia and existing skilled workforces as regional pulls. It is part of a bid to create a science and technology powerhouse for the North.
Andrew Pexton, Director at GVA, said:
“We’re seeing an unprecedented demand for large industrial sites from occupiers with large power requirements. They want resilience and security from their energy supply, and incentives such as the Innovation District will be a real pull for them to locate to Cheshire.
“We’re talking about interest in sectors such as paper production and high-tech manufacturing, where energy availability is a core consideration. Combine this with land availability, existing skillsets and global connectivity and the area quickly becomes a no-brainer for investors looking for a UK base.”
Incentives such as Enhanced Capital Allowances as part of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone are already attracting innovative companies in the energy, bioscience and technology sectors. It is helping drive growth across Cheshire and Warrington, with 2016 stats showing 6.1% growth and an output per head over 20% higher than the UK average.
John Adlen, Growth Director for Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said:
“Energy is central to our offer and we are lucky to have a collection of impassioned organisations that are driving an exemplar project such as the Energy Innovation District. The work happening within the Science Corridor is outstanding and has genuine global implications. The time is now to get behind forward-thinking initiatives that make international investors turn north when they arrive in the UK. Better still, they will come straight to the Cheshire Science Corridor because they know just what we are capable of and the competitive advantage it provides their business.”