Suffolk: Minister of State Charles Hendry recognises county’s energy potential

SUFFOLK is a “microcosm” of the massive opportunities for the UK economy in the energy sector, a Government minister told business leaders from the county yesterday.

Charles Hendry, Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, was speaking at a House of Commons reception hosted by Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich on behalf of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Anglian Water.

Mr Hendry said the need to replace much of the UK’s coal-fired and nuclear generating capacity over the next 10 to 15 years was a major challenge but also a huge opportunity.

This included EDF’s proposals for a new nuclear plant at Sizewell, the growing off-shore wind industry and a continued role for oil and gas.

“In Suffolk I see a real microcosm of what Britain can do,” he added.

A new nuclear plant at Sizewell would created thousands of jobs, with around 80% of the work involved in a nuclear power project involving non-nuclear skills, so offering huge and wide-ranging employment opportunities.

The UK was already a world leader in off-shore wind power, but with a great deal more progress required both to reduce costs and to attract more of the manufacturing and assembly work to the UK.

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The Government was reforming the energy market to attract the investment required, and the Green Investment Bank would also provide support where required, he added.

Mr Poulter introduced yesterday’s event together with Suffolk Chamber president Peter Funnell.

Other speakers included Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who provided a local perspective on the energy sector, and Matt Pluke, energy manager at Anglian Water, who spoke about the company’s wide-ranging carbon reduction programme.