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North East energy bid charges on

(23 August 2007)

The North East Consortium, in which Durham University plays a central role, has been named as one of three short-listed finalists to host the UK's billion pound clean energy development programme.

The North East Consortium will now face competition from Scotland and the Midlands to host the headquarters of the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).This national centre will be responsible for the allocation of approximately £1bn of private and public research funds into renewable and low carbon energy. The final selection presentation will take place in London on September 6th. Made up of representatives from industry sponsors and Government, the selection panel will then make their recommendation to the ETI board, with the host location to be formally announced in early October. Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: 'This Institute would act as a catalyst for change in the energy sector, not only in the region but also nationally and internationally. 'The North East has some of the world’s leading technological, research and industrial experts already sharing their knowledge and working together on a suite of alternative solutions to our traditional sources of energy. 'This Institute would provide a vehicle to further develop these technologies and to recruit and nurture new talent, thus powering a new energy revolution globally.' Rt. Hon Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East, underlined his support for the North East’s bid at an event to mark the unveiling of the Consortium’s plans at Newcastle University’s Devonshire Building, the proposed host for the hub. The Minister said: “Of all the projects and programmes underway in our region, the ETI bid is the issue which I think should have top priority, and something which I will advocate most to the government of our country.” The ETI will be set-up almost immediately and if the North East is successful, will establish the region as the energy innovation capital of the UK. More than £6bn planned commercial investment in novel energy projects in the region has already been announced, and the proposal developed in conjunction with One NorthEast and the Science and Industry Council, demonstrates the region’s capability across the energy technology spectrum. Margaret Fay, One NorthEast Chairman, said: “Together with the expertise of the North East’s fast-growing new and renewable energy sector, the region is now in a strong position to be named as the ETI host region when the Government makes its final selection in October.” Ahead of their presentation in London, the North East Consortium continues to urge supporters to add statements of their support online at http://eti.ncl.ac.uk/support/. Communicating this enthusiasm and warm welcome for the ETI, will be key influencer in the selection process. As one of the three short-listed regions hand picked to host the ETI, the energy sector in North East England can look forward to a prosperous future as a key centre for renewable and low carbon energy research and development. For further information on the North East’s proposal please visit http://eti.ncl.ac.uk/index.php or call the ETI team on 0191 246 4951.

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