New body aims to power Suffolk and Norfolk energy industry
- Credit: Archant
A new body to to promote the energy industry in Suffolk and Norfolk has been formed.
The All Energy Industry Council is a UK first and will work to boost local job opportunities, trade, investment and growth within the industry,
The new pressure group, backed by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, was formed at the first Southern North Sea Conference, held in Norwich by energy producers, local authorities, business groups and a wind industry trade body.
Already around £11 billion of development and capital has been invested in constructing offshore wind projects in this region, and experts say the industry could create thousands more well-paid and skilled jobs here as it grows.
East Anglia has more large energy developments than any other region in the UK. It is the only part of the country with all forms of resource extraction and energy generation.
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A priority will be to develop the existing offshore wind farms.
More than half the UK's wind generation capacity of 7.5GW is in the region, with 971 operational wind turbines.
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Norfolk and Suffolk is fast becoming the UK's epicentre for energy generation with its mix of renewable energy - in particular offshore wind - gas, and nuclear energy production. The industry is estimated to be worth £59.4bn by 2040.
And, if approved, Sizewell C is expected to put a further £200m a year into the regional economy during peak construction, and £40m a year during its 60 years of operation.
The new council is being chaired by Mark Goodall, senior manager of Aker Solutions.
He said: "The East of England is pivotal in contributing to energy transition and decarbonising our sources and uses of energy.
"Never before has the future of energy been so high on the global agenda in terms of meeting demand while being mindful of climate change.
"We need to capitalise on our region's richness in natural resources and be at the forefront of this transition.
"We have a huge opportunity and a responsibility to lead the way, hence the establishment of this Council and I look forward to working with this talented collective from industry, education and government to make it happen."
Doug Field, chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: "Already 52% of the UK's offshore wind power capacity is generated in Norfolk and Suffolk - Bacton Gas Terminal provides on average 30% of the UK's gas supply.
"Our region is one of the busiest and most densely packed energy regions in the world.
"There is immense opportunity for economic and business growth with the right strategic direction and delivery.
"Bringing suppliers and stakeholders together to form the All Energy Industry Council ensures we can maximise the opportunity and deliver the energy needs of the future."