Energy must be a priority
Just last week, the Government finally gave the go-ahead for the first new nuclear power station in a generation, which will be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Initial estimates from Somerset County Council claim the regional economy is set to benefit by around Â£4bn. But the effects could also be felt here in Lancashire.
Lancaster University and UCLan offer courses in nuclear engineering and could help skill the workforce, and there are companies like Fort Vale in Burnley that supply high-end engineering components to the nuclear industry.
According to a league table produced by the think-tank Green Alliance, Lancashire has over 336 MW of installed renewable energy capacity, ahead of its North West neighbours Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside (just 74 MW).
Lancashire does particularly well with onshore wind and biomass for heat generation.
Soon, Lancashire may also have a shale gas industry, contributing even more jobs and creating additional markets for Lancashire businesses.
Without doubt, energy is important to the county’s future economic prospects – it already employs over 37,000 people and has enormous scope to grow.
It’s also helping to reduce our reliance on dirty coal-fired power.
But there’s a danger these strengths will be overlooked in discussions about the future of the Northern Powerhouse initiative if we’re not careful.
It’s crucial that energy remains on the agenda.
Lee Petts MCIWM, MIoD, managing director