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New project aims to inform businesses about energy issues

An innovative £5m scheme to help businesses across the North East tackle rising energy costs will be launched next month.

The Energy Management Excellence project will enable businesses to cut bills by developing the skills to deal with energy issues.

Regional development agency One NorthEast is investing £4.2m in the project, while the 160 companies involved will contribute £800,000.

David Allison, One NorthEast Director of Business and Industry, said: “Recent rising energy costs have placed mounting pressure on regional businesses”.

“One NorthEast has identified tackling this issue as a priority, recognising that sustained high energy costs will be detrimental to the future of the regional economy”.

A team of specialist engineers will work closely with firms to develop an energy action plan, analysing energy usage and highlighting ways to cut bills.

The project, which runs for approximately 30 months, will also help companies develop new facilities and equipment, including on site wind turbines.

Sarah Green, CBI North East Regional Director, said: “Over the past two years, energy prices have soared and placed growing pressures on business”.

“One NorthEast’s funding and intervention is welcome and to be applauded, cutting to the heart of the issue and bringing hands-on help to companies at the sharp end of this escalating problem.”

Alan Hall, Director of EEF Northern, said of the project: “It should mean that over the next two to three years manufacturers in the region will be able to benefit directly in making energy efficiency and cost savings from their current high point.”

Dr Stan Higgins, Chief Executive of the North East Process Industries Cluster, added: “Energy costs have risen to the top of the agenda in all sub-sectors of the process industries”.

“Many commodity chemical processes are high energy users and rely on efficient use of energy to be able to compete in the global marketplace.”

Annabel Hardy.

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