East Anglia’s renewables sector ‘can  lead the way’, industry told 

Lowestoft MP Peter Aldous speaking at an energy conference

Waveney MP Peter Aldous addressing delegates at the EEEGR conference in Lowestoft - Credit: Furthermore Marketing

East Anglia can become the “engine house” of the UK’s renewable energy output, a regional conference has heard.

Big-hitters from the sector gathered at OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft on Friday, October 29 – just as the climate change conference in Glasgow was getting under way – for an industry event organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

Guest speaker and Waveney MP Peter Aldous told around 100 delegates that the offshore wind sector had come a long way in the last 10 years.

“The next decade can bring enormous benefits to our area,” he said. 

“East Anglia has the opportunity to be a global exemplar with just under half of the UK’s installed offshore wind capacity coming from our region already, showcasing what we can do in the East of England for the transition to net-zero including our contribution to coastal communities in terms of skills and the levelling up agenda.

East Anglia can become the engine house of the UK with its unique regional offer with over 30% of the UK’s future electricity coming from East Anglia.”

The event – EEEGR’s first face-to-face conference in more than two years and staged as part of RenewableUK’s UK Wind Week – brought together a range of companies and workers involved in the sector, including sponsors ScottishPower Renewables, Equinor, Orsted, ScottishPower Renewables and GENERATE.

EEEGR executive director of external affairs and policy Simon Gray stressed the need for region’s energy industry to work together.

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The east coast already provides almost 50% of the country’s installed offshore wind capacity, and that is set to nearly double that with the construction of several new offshore wind farms and extensions off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast in the next decade in order to keep the region on track to contribute to the government target of net-zero by 2050 and 40GW by 2030.

EEEGR executive chairman Martin Dronfield said: “Our region is home to the largest cluster of operating wind farms in the world and we will continue to dominate the offshore wind landscape in years to come with planned projects off our coast.

“In the next 30 years we forecast that approximately £60bn will be spent in the sector on projects off the coast of East Anglia. These are exciting times for offshore wind, however there remains uncertainty on the future of some projects which could be detrimental to our region if they don’t go ahead, both in terms of the effect on the local supply chain and the skills landscape.”

EEEGR has joined forces with all major wind farm developers to launch of an East of England Offshore Wind Cluster Forum bringing together businesses, local authorities and skills providers to give the region a united voice.

Projects include ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia Hub, Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard, Equinor’s Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extensions and Orsted’s Hornsea Two and Hornsea Three.