At the Southern North Sea conference today, energy suppliers and stakeholder groups have formed the Council to boost local job opportunities, trade, investment, productivity and growth within the industry, delivering the National Industrial Strategy and relevant Sector Deals. One of the key priorities for the Council will be to develop the offshore wind cluster in parallel with planned investment and development across the energy industry.
Norfolk and Suffolk is fast becoming the UK’s epicentre for energy generation with its unique mix of renewable energy (and in particular offshore wind), gas and nuclear energy production. The opportunity is worth £59.4bn by 2040.
This part of the country is the only place in the UK with all forms of resource extraction and energy generation. It also has more large energy developments in the works than any other region.
The Council – which has Government’s backing – will be chaired by Mark Goodall, Senior Manager of Aker Solutions and is made up of all energy suppliers, local authorities, business groups and a member trade body.
Mark Goodall, Chair of All Energy Industry Council, 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, said: “Already 52% of the UK’s offshore wind power capacity is generated in Norfolk and Suffolk and 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 that we can maximise the opportunity and deliver the energy needs of the future.”
Vattenfall’s Andy Paine is the Offshore Wind Industry Council Cluster Champion for East Anglia, part of the implementation of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the agreement between the UK government and the sector to maximise economic benefit from the industry. Joining the All Energy Industry Council, he said: “The All Energy Industry Council is a unique organisation in the UK reflecting East Anglia’s strategic importance to energy supply in the UK. As the Offshore Wind Sector Deal is implemented and works towards trebling UK sector employment to 27,000 by 2030, this is an ideal opportunity to collaborate and secure the potential of cross fertilisation in skills development and supply chain investment. The prize across all sectors is significant and it’s important that East Anglia does not miss out.”
Graham Hacon, CEO of Great Yarmouth-3sun Group, said a strategic approach to skills training was key to future-proofing a workforce to serve the energy industry. His company had spent more than £3 million in the last two years on training new entrants into the offshore wind industry, ex-military officers, unemployed people and retraining professionals for the new industry.
Mr Hacon said: “My ethos has always been to provide employment for local people to service an industry growing in their region that is crying out for an ever-expanding pool of skilled workers to meet its needs and maintain the UK’s position as world leader.”
Simon Gray, CEO of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), said: “EEEGR is delighted to form the secretariat and trade representation element of the AEIC and we look forward to working with stakeholders across all energy sectors and other relevant groups in ensuring that our region continues to provide the energy to power the nation. We want to ensure that we have the skills, competencies and supply chain opportunities for businesses across the area for many decades to come.”
New Anglia LEP will be co-developing a Local Industrial Strategy with partners, which will have a strong focus on the region’s all energy expertise setting out how the region can continue to assist with tackling the Clean Growth grand challenge. It will collaborate with key stakeholders such as BEIS, Catapults and Industry Councils (eg OWIC and NIC) to ensure that the cluster is delivered in alignment with key market opportunities such as the Offshore Wind and Nuclear Sector Deals as well as the Oil and Gas Authorities (OGA) Vision 2035.
Norfolk and Suffolk is home to UK’s leading offshore wind sector and produces a total of 4GW. This is more than half of the UK’s current 7.5GW installed capacity.
The growth capacity in operations and development off the coast of East of England is 14.5GW. This means that the region on its own could deliver 50% of Government’s target by 2030 with the right investment. Government published its targets in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal which was launched in Norfolk and Suffolk in March (2019). The growth opportunity could create more than 6,000 well-paid skilled jobs by 2032.