Green growth is now front-and-centre of the energy sector, according to a senior director at one of the region’s biggest businesses.
Clare Harbord of Drax power Group told the annual meeting of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce that the business has embraced recent technological advances in order to turn around how it operates. The energy producer is successfully converting from coal use to bio-mass, and is now on target to meet the 2025 deadline for coal-free energy production. The changes make it the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Clare, Executive Group Director, spoke to a lunch of Chamber members and guests following the approval of financial and other reports at the Queen’s Hotel, in Leeds. She also fielded several questions, confirming the view that Drax is a good employer in the region, doing many great things. Eleven per cent of Europe’s renewable energy is provided from Drax, and more than 1,000 jobs exist at the Selby site. Schools are encouraged to send pupils on site visits there, in particular girls to get them interested in a career in engineering.
Questions to Clare were on a range of topics, including east-west transport connectivity (with particular reference to re-opening the 11-mile Skipton-Colne rail link), having a post-Brexit energy provision plan, promoting engineering and energy to a diverse future workforce, and the further development of biomass fuel to support the environment. Before the lunch, Gerald Jennings was re-elected as Chairman of the Chamber Board, which is made up of business representatives from across West and North Yorkshire, plus the organisation’s Chief Executive, Sandy Needham.
Gerald said afterwards:
“It was great to hear from a successful and responsible employer working in a sector that has seen significant change in the last few years. We are all taking our responsibilities seriously in relation to the environment, and that was evidenced in the number of questions that Clare fielded in a short space of time. It was also pleasing to note that the Chamber is in a strong position to continue providing top quality business support services and representing its members in influential circles.”
The event was sponsored by the Business Enterprise Fund.