The development of a low carbon northeast of England needs to be understood in the broader context of deindustrialisation of the region since the 1970s. Chemicals, steel and shipbuilding are no longer the large-scale employers they were once were, and the vital question has been: what comes next? Deindustrialisation has usually been responded to through a lens of neoliberalisation marked by a preoccupation with the new and constant reimagination and reinvention – often mistakenly characterised as innovation.