Sir Ian Wood urged businesses of all sizes to “co-operate, share ideas, challenge themselves and combine expertise” as he launched the new EnergyTech initiative.
Industry leaders, entrepreneurs and government leaders came together virtually today to mark the start of the programme, which is a collaboration between Opportunity North East (ONE), Barclays Eagle Labs and CodeBase aimed at accelerating innovation in the UK Energy sector.
Announced last week, EnergyTech hopes to increase discussion about the digital transformation in the energy sector by acting as a midway between fledgling firms and large-scale corporates.
Although virtual initially, the programme will eventually be housed in the ONE Tech Hub in Aberdeen as part of efforts to help the region diversify away from oil and gas.
At the launch, Sir Ian, chair of ONE, said: “Against a backdrop of concerted action to tackle climate change, green economic recovery post Covid 19, and shifting societal expectations it’s very timely to launch a programme focused on accelerating the pace of industry innovation and digital transformation within the energy sector.
“This programme will bring together major players from across the energy industry including oil & gas operators, renewable operators, utility providers and digital businesses that can challenge and disrupt the mindset and culture to catalyse a more digitally focused energy sector.
“ONE’s decision to partner to deliver EnergyTech, highlights the critical role the North East of Scotland will play to deliver the energy transition and in addressing the global energy demand and climate change challenge.
“The region’s assets – 50 years of oil and gas, significant offshore infrastructure, and skilled company and people base uniquely, positions us to play an important role in developing innovative low carbon solutions and help drive Scotland’s and the UK’s ambitious plans for a green economic recovery.
“Energy systems will become more integrated; wind energy and the renewable energy sources will operate alongside oil & gas production using existing facilities and supporting the oil and gas industry to reduce emissions and reach Net-Zero.
“This is not something the industry is only now starting to address; this is something that is at the core of businesses in this region and has got well underway in the last year. But we need to do more of it and we need to do it faster. And it isn’t always straightforward. Hence the need to bring new thinking into some of these challenges which is what EnergyTech is all about.
“This region is home to around 180 digital technology companies with many built out of the oil and gas industry, but we are not using them, or digital, to its full potential. We need to enhance the relationship between oil and digital and find new ways of working, and we need to go faster.
“We have a tremendous opportunity with our skills, technical competency, infrastructure, supply chain and ambition BUT we HAVE to do more to address the culture and mindset and we have to do it now.
“While the technology component is essential, it is imperative Energy Tech drives the culture change and agile working to create a level playing field to challenge thinking and explore ideas.
“The skills and experience of Barclays and Codebase will play a vital role in creating the conditions and content to do this. Barclays has of course been through industry disruption which led them to establish a leading role in financial services and banking sectors, going on to create the largest network of incubators focused on industry 4.0. Codebase brings unique insight into how tech start-ups design and deliver solutions, new business models and new ways of working.
“By learning together within EnergyTech, we can create a culture where businesses of all sizes co-operate, share ideas, challenge themselves and combine expertise to accelerate the transformational change we need.
“Our industry is not new to transforming itself. I am confident we have the mindset and humility to embrace this opportunity and become a leading technology and digitally enabled ALL energy sector contributing to a better climate future.
“As we look to LawTech and FinTech as sectors deeply affected by and adapting to technology, my hope is that in time other industries will be able to look to EnergyTech as an exemplar of an industry evolving through disruption and emerging stronger, better and cleaner.”