Six priorities for Yorkshire Day: Energy

For decades Yorkshire has powered Britain from its coal mines and the string of power stations that dot the landscape.

Where will Yorkshire get its electricity from in the future?

And as environmental concerns 
drive radical changes in the way we approach energy generation, 
Yorkshire’s history in power 
production, its geography and 
geology mean it is well-placed to capitalise.

The opening of the Siemens wind turbine facility in Hull later this year is a powerful symbol of the potential this region has to embrace these new opportunities.

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However, Yorkshire’s ambitions have been hampered by the failure of successive governments to give the energy sector the thing it craves more than anything – certainty.

David Cameron began his leadership of the Conservative Party urging people to “vote blue, go green” but in his later years as prime minister was urging colleagues to “cut the green cr*p”.

His Government rowed back on plans to support conversion from burning coal to biomass, with implications for Drax, and backed offshore wind only to “reset” its approach last year and take a tougher line on subsidies for the sector. It pursued, then scrapped, the £1bn carbon capture and storage competition which would have supported the White Rose Project that could have helped Yorkshire become a world leader in the field.

The failure to back CCS was even more baffling in the context of Mr Cameron’s commitment to going 
“all out for shale”, supporting the fracking industry with no plan to 
deal with the emissions it would create.

The protests at the application to frack at Kirby Misperton, and the dismay at the decision to give the go-ahead, illustrate the comprehensive failure to convince communities that this technology can be used safely and bring the benefits promised.

The energy sector will hope Theresa May’s decision to delay the final approval for the new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point is not a sign of more uncertainty to come.

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