Collaborative working will accelerate Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone

Friday, August 07, 2020

Electricity North West and Lancashire County Council have joined forces to accelerate and shape sustainable economic growth and business productivity across Lancashire.

A 'collaborative agreement' was signed recently between the two organisations to work closely together to progress the delivery of critical electricity infrastructure at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone. Parties are also working closely to explore further opportunities across Lancashire that will future-proof the county's utility capacity needs, drive the local economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Electricity North West, which operates the electricity network across the north west of England, is investing £25 million over the next three years to create vital new capacity so the region can shift from using fossil fuels to electricity for everything from transport and even heating.

In Lancashire, work is now set to begin on a £7.5 million scheme to create new capacity between Preston and Blackburn, to accelerate the progress being made at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, which will create significant new demand on the electricity network as businesses grow and develop.

This is the first of eight key infrastructure projects that will power the North West’s switch to new technologies like electric vehicles to dramatically cut carbon emissions.

The Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone is a 50-hectare site capable of accommodating up to 1 million sq ft of floorspace. When fully developed, the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone will be a national centre of excellence for research and advanced engineering and manufacturing related companies ranging from manufacturing to specialist logistics.

Sales of electric vehicles have more than trebled in the UK in the past year, and peak-time demand for electricity is expected to double by 2050 as the region looks to hit its net zero carbon targets.

To ensure that those living and working in the region continue to enjoy one of the most reliable electricity networks in the UK for years to come, Electricity North West is investing in creating vital new capacity.

The eight projects, which are located across the region, are part of the network operator’s Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan, a £64 million scheme announced last year to pave the way for a smooth transition to a low-carbon future.

Speaking at the beginning of work on-site in Samlesbury, Peter Emery, chief executive of Electricity North West, said: “Through economic growth and the adoption of low-carbon technologies, the demand for electricity is starting to rise and will gather pace rapidly in the years to come.

“The investments we’re making in places like Samlesbury right now are to ensure the network has enough capacity for the first steps of that transformation, and will guarantee that the major new facilities already being built will have all the power they need to drive clean growth.

“Not only will that help us remain one of the most reliable networks in the UK, but it will also pave the way for the region to move towards becoming a cleaner, greener place to live.”

County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of Lancashire County Council, welcomed the move. He said: "I'm delighted that we are going to be working with Electricity North West in a strategic and coordinated way. This is good news for our county's future. The work at Samlesbury is invaluable as it is a strategically important employment site in Central Lancashire and is also of paramount importance to Lancashire's broader economic recovery programme."

The Samlesbury scheme includes a new 33,000-volt substation and over 22km of underground cables connecting it in to the network unlocking strategic development for the site. The enterprise zone is a strategically important employment site in Central Lancashire which presents a significant opportunity to accelerate and shape economic growth and business productivity across Lancashire.

Elsewhere, Electricity North West plans to build new electricity substations, expand its high voltage network of electricity cables and create capacity in other key areas to meet rising demand.

Electricity North West launched its Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan last year as part of its work to support the region in its aim to become carbon neutral by at least 2050, and in Greater Manchester by 2038.

The plan included a commitment for Electricity North West to reduce its carbon emissions, support community initiatives to do the same, and to deliver extra capacity on the network to ensure businesses can access the power they need to transition towards a low carbon economy, as they move away from a reliance on fossil fuels and start to generate more renewable, green electricity locally.

Two strategic projects are already underway including increased capacity for South Manchester Enterprise Zone near Manchester Airport – while the schemes announced today will commence on site at various points between now and March 2023.

Tagged as: Jobs, Employment and Volunteering

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