Southern North Sea ‘could jump-start green recovery’
PUBLISHED: 11:25 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:26 17 September 2020
The east’s energy sector believes it could provide a major boost to UK’s economic recovery as efforts continue to achieve ambitious net-zero targets.
The East of England Energy Group’s (EEEGR) flagship Southern North Sea (SNS) Conference – which was held online this year – welcomed 450 delegates and more than 60 exhibitors all keen to exploit opportunities presented by the “green recovery”.
The first day of the two-day event – entitled Smart Generation: The Transition to 2050 – was opened by business and energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng and EEEGR chief executive Simon Gray.
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The eastern region is “the most successful enterprise zone in the country”, delegates heard, with the success of the SNS2020 conference demonstrating the “power of working together”.
Mr Kwarteng voiced support for the region, and recognised the economic opportunities provided by the Southern North Sea basin amid a changing energy landscape. He outlined ambitions for the offshore wind sector to achieve exports of £6.2bn a year within 10 years, and said net-zero targets were a top priority for government.
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The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and energy company ENI headlined an oil and gas segment, discussing the challenges industry faces with current gas prices and the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The session explored how the sector was innovating, with plans for electrification, carbon capture and storage as well as decarbonisation.
The renewables stream focused on the transition to low carbon energy technologies and harnessing these to jump-start a “green recovery”, with speakers from RenewableUK, ORE Catapult, Solar Trade Association and the UK Energy Research Centre.
Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) chief executive Tom Greatrex predicted that nuclear would contribute up to 40% of the UK’s clean electricity by 2050, which in turn will contribute £33bn per year to the economy.
Jonathan Cole of ScottishPower Renewables called for government backing for the offshore wind sector, while Danielle Lane of energy company Vattenfall called for decisions to be made “in a timely manner”.
Julia Pyke of EDF, the company behind the proposed Sizewell C nuclear project, said there was a “fantastic opportunity” to keep Britain at the forefront of net zero.
Deirdre Michie of Oil and Gas UK said: “We are embracing the green recovery by reducing our own emissions and carbon footprint while contributing to the UK’s net zero ambitions.”
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