NWDA established the Northwest Energy Council in 2003 to give strategic guidance to the NWDA. As the first body of its type in theUK, it brought together key regional energy sector players from academia and the private and public sector. It was subsumed into the NWDA Energy and Environmental Technologies Board Sub Committee in 2009.
The Northwest Energy Council has played not only a valuable strategic role but brought together many of the key decision makers from industry, academia and the public sector. The involvement of regional universities and companies such as Siemens, Electricity North West, Baxi, Westinghouse and Urenco has been invaluable in shaping the strategic approach to the sector. Relationships with the SME community have been led by Envirolink and Business Link Northwest.
Industry led steering groups have been an essential feature to the success of all the major projects ensuring that the direction and delivery matches the needs of regional business. They also add credibility to a project and promote business participation.
Partnership working has been essential to supporting direct foreign investment to the region, with the support of bodies such as Envirolink Northwest, Manchester Investment Development Agency (MIDAS) and Invest inCumbria, the NWDA has worked closely with UK Trade and Investment to promote the region. There have been a number of successes especially in the recycling and waste management sectors, with the £13m flagship Huyton Demonstrator project, supported by DEFRA, NWDA and Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority, successfully demonstrating an innovative household waste recycling technology. Other investments have come from companies such as Dong who have established their offshore wind turbine operations and maintenance base in Barrow, and Siemens who are establishing a new offshore grid connections operation inManchester. Most inward investment success has been in the nuclear sector, with the new build at Sellafield being the most high profile, but a number of other foreign nuclear companies have established theirUK(and European) operations in the Northwest.
The NWDA has played a valuable leadership and coordination role acting as the de facto regional nuclear cluster body. There has been significant activity to raise the profile of the Northwest nuclear sector with the aim of attracting inward investment. Trade missions have been undertaken toFrance,USAandCanada. Numerous inward missions to the Northwest have been hosted with the end result of at least two international nuclear companies (mainlyUSA) establishing a presence in the region.