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In the global race for sustainable energy solutions, North East England is leading the field. The pioneering testing facilities offered by NaREC, the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, coupled with a flourishing bio- fuel sector, provided the perfect environment for global energy giant Yanmar to develop its 100% bio- diesel combined heat and power system. Sustainable energy: increasing efficiency and reducing energy bills of the future. Find out more about the region's pioneering work in renewable energy at www. northeastengland. co. uk/ renewables " Cleanerenergy for the planet. Sustained by NorthEastEngland." Makoto Yasuda, Yanmar Campaign led by

INNOVATION UK125 Centres of Excellence NORTH EAST: ONE NORTH EAST North East England has a well- deserved reputation for supporting firms' international business expansion. Today more than 500 leading global companies are located in the region, making it one of the most dynamic parts of the European Economic Area - the world's largest trading block. High- growth sectors, such as Energy & Low Carbon Tech-nology, Chemicals and Automotive & Advanced Manu-facturing have proved a magnet for ambitious compa-nies. And there is increasing potential in key areas such as Healthcare & Life Sciences, as well as Digital Media and Animation. The region has proven expertise in helping firms exploit business opportunities at minimum risk, attracting high levels of Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI) from Europe, Asia and North America. Around 40% of companies listed on the Dow Jones have operations in North East England. Electric Vehicle Development in North East England 2009 saw the mass production of electric cars in the UK take a giant stride forward with Nissan's announcement that it will build its new electric battery plant in North East England. Nissan's Washington plant already produces one in four cars in the UK and is the most productive car plant in Europe, and the announcement that the North East will be home to Nissan's advanced lithium- ion battery plant marks a significant step toward the production of zero-emission cars. The plant is scheduled to supply 60,000 batteries a year for electric vehicles produced by the Renault- Nissan Alliance who will offer electric vehicles in the United States and Japan beginning in 2010 ahead of mass marketing in 2012 to consumers globally. Welcoming the announcement UK Prime Minister Gor-don Brown said: " Nissan's investment in a new battery plant and its hope to start producing electric vehicles here in Sunderland is great news for the local economy, creating up to 350 direct jobs and creating and safe-guarding hundreds more in the associated supply chain." Nissan's Sunderland plant produced a record 386,000 units in 2008, making Nissan the largest vehicle exporter from the UK, with around 80% of production sold outside of the country. Together with the engine assembly plant and other facilities, Sunderland currently employs around 4,200 workers. Reinforcing the North East's place as a leader in the devel-opment of electric vehicles, One North East will deliver the country's first Low Carbon Economic Area ( LCEA) specialising in ultra- low- carbon vehicles. The LCEA will focus on the transformation of the automotive industry, supporting innovation and demonstration, skills training and a cluster of manufacturing. The LCEA, announced by Gordon Brown at the Nissan factory in July 2009, will focus on Sunderland, South Tyneside and Easington and will include a training cen-tre specialising in the manufacture and maintenance of ultra- low- carbon vehicles, a Research & Development centre for all five North East universities, and an open-access test track for new vehicles. While the location of Nissan makes the North East a natural home for the LCEA, there is a lot more going on in the North East that makes the region a natural place for the development of electric vehicles. A long history of automotive manufacturing excellence means the region is already home to firms like Komatsu, Caterpillar, Cummins and British Engines. But there are also other success stories. Not far from Nis-san, Smith Electric Vehicles is another automotive firm considered a leader in its field. Smith Electric Vehicles has been involved in the devel-opment of electric vehicles since the 1920s and is the world leader in commercial electric light vans, recently Welcome to North East England Home to Europe's fastest- growing sectors