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15 February 2022

Where are energy industries clustered in the UK?

Scotland and the North East are two of many industrial energy clusters in the UK, shows an exclusive analysis of Companies House records.

By Isabeau van Halm, Nicu Calcea and Josh Rayman

Historically, businesses have gravitated towards locations with resources and infrastructure. It is not surprising therefore that many industrial clusters are found in Scotland.

Scotland, which received global attention as the host of the COP26 climate conference last year, has gone through a transformation of its energy sector since the discovery of oil and gas 50 years ago. Now moving towards low-carbon and renewables, it recently cemented its position as Europe’s floating offshore wind leader with 15GW out of a massive 25GW tender awarded to floating turbines.

An exclusive analysis of records from Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies, shows that the share of companies active in energy, from “production of electricity” to the “extraction of natural gas”, are not evenly distributed across the country. Many of them are clustered in Scotland, as well as the North East and, for electricity production, the South West.

Clusters can be advantageous for companies as they can share infrastructure, resources and logistics. According to the World Economic Forum, industrial clusters will play a key role in the road to net zero. “This physical co-location can be leveraged to significantly reduce the emissions in industrial clusters, even enabling a transformation towards net zero emissions,” it says.

The map below shows where the UK’s energy industries have clustered and where they make up a significant share of businesses.

The search bar can be used to look for companies by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. After selecting “clear”, the drop-down menu can be used to select an SIC code.

By default, the map shows the number of companies that have listed the selected SIC code in each area as a share of all businesses in the area. This is to avoid the over-representation of London and other big cities on the map. You can, however, select the “show company count” checkmark to see the total number of businesses.

To make the map, Energy Monitor and its parent company GlobalData collected active company records from Companies House, extracting geographical coordinates of their registered addresses.

The records were then aggregated into equally sized areas, spread out across the UK. Clicking on one of the areas shows the Middle Layer Super Output Areas contained within that area and the number of businesses matching the selected SIC code, as well as the share of those businesses among all businesses.

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