Wind of change as investment in east of England shows results

Aerospace, Renewables, Environmental, Oil & gas

The east of England is pushing ahead in energy transition and clean energy generation

Our MD Wayne Henderson was down at the Southern North Sea Conference and Exhibition last week. Here’s what he made of the two-day event.

by Wayne Henderson

There is a real energy buzz in the east of England.

I know this because I spent a couple of days last week at SNS 2023 - the Southern North Sea Conference and Exhibition held in Norwich and organised by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

The east of England is pushing ahead in energy transition and clean energy generation. In fact, EEEGR chairman Martin Dronfield said the east of England is leading the way in support of the UK's increasing energy needs.

“By 2030, one third of all UK energy will come from or through our region,” he said in his speech at the conference.

He also said the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a challenge and a huge opportunity.

“This region will be the energy production capital of the UK,” he added.

He does have some evidence to back up this fairly confident prediction.

The east of England is home to 44% of the UK’s existing offshore wind farms, producing more than 5GW of clean electricity with a further 6.7GW consented and 3GW planned.

As the UK Government’s energy security strategy has an ambition to achieve “up to” 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030, this is a good place to be.

The Government claims this target would be “more than enough to power every home in the UK”.

Mr Dronfield is not just relying on the UK Government, however.

ScottishPower Renewables is a major player in the region and parent companies Iberdrola and ScottishPower are currently investing the equivalent of £8million every working day between 2023 to 2025 to deliver a clean, low-carbon system for the UK.

Their 41 wind farms produce over 2.8GW of clean, renewable energy which supplies the equivalent of more than 2million homes.

Closer to home, the company’s renewables development activities in Scottish waters include the MarramWind (3GW) and CampionWind (2GW) floating windfarm sites being developed off the north and north-east coast in partnership with Shell, as well as the MachairWind (2GW) fixed site off the coast of Argyll – a solo development for ScottishPower.

Collectively, the projects have the potential to create enough clean energy to power more than 8million homes. And in case you’re wondering, there are about 25million homes in the UK so that’s just under a third of them.

It’s not just offshore wind that’s keeping the east of England buoyant though.

There’s a £1.3billion project to transform the Bacton gas terminal in north Norfolk into a hydrogen energy plant to power London and the south-east.

Sizewell C will generate enough low-carbon electricity through nuclear energy to supply 6million homes. It’s hoped the Sizewell C Clean Energy Hub will pave the way for other low-carbon technologies, including hydrogen production and Direct Air Capture (DAC).

And the sky isn’t quite the limit. The Norfolk and Suffolk Space Cluster are among the 18 projects to receive funding from the UK Space Agency aimed at boosting the space sector across the UK.

At the start of the SNS event, project director of the Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone Rob Anderson said: “Every year the buzz at this conference grows.

“The vision is for the region to become a superpower of offshore wind.”

It’s no coincidence that I’m down here. Just like it’s no coincidence that these are all growing sectors to which Marex is currently providing 25 years of risk expertise.

Marex is ambitious, and the east of England is an ambitious region.

Neil Smeaton

Wayne Henderson Managing director

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