Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable visited Applied Superconductor in Blyth, Northumberland as part of a tour to promote the growth of a low carbon economy.
The Superconducting Fault Current Limiter device, designed and manufactured by Applied Superconductor (ASL), achieves savings through reducing energy losses and improving the quality and security of supply. It is estimated that it could save the energy industry over £600 million in reduced capital costs, while at the same time cutting carbon emissions by 37 million tonnes by 2020.
Dr Cable spoke about the advantage the region had due to the National Renewable Energy Centre being based in Blyth. The centre assists the renewable energy industries in developing technology and networks to accommodate the changing characteristics of energy resources and usage in the UK.
Japanese car-maker Nissan will invest £420m in a battery production plant and electric car manufacturing in Sunderland, boosting the North East economy further. These investments are expected to create over 550 jobs in the region.
Acknowledging the fact that the UK has the sixth largest low carbon economic goods and services market in the world, Dr Cable confirmed the Government’s enthusiasm for the renewable energy industry: “The transition to a green economy presents significant growth opportunities both in the UK and abroad,” he said.
As well as visiting ASL, the Business Secretary also visited two other manufacturers – Rio Tinto Alcan and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, where he discussed the challenges facing energy intensive industries. The Government’s energy and climate change policies have an acute effect on energy intensive industries and able made it clear that the Government is aware of this: “we’re committed to being transparent about the costs [to energy intensive industries].”
SABIC has 700 direct jobs, 400 contractors and around 4,000 indirect jobs. Rio Tinto Alcan’s Lynemouth plant is the largest private sector employer in Northumberland with 630 direct jobs and around 3,000 indirect jobs.