Norfolk & Suffolk will reap rewards of plans to accelerate domestic energy production

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Government plans to expand domestic energy production and create thousands of job opportunities in clean energy have been welcomed by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Amid soaring energy prices and growing volatility in international markets, an Energy Security Strategy has been unveiled which aims to bolster the UK’s self-sufficiency and support its transition to net zero with cleaner and more affordable energy.

It sets out proposals which will accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, while supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term – which could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon.

Norfolk and Suffolk are already at the forefront of the country’s transition to clean energy and the proposals will reinforce the region’s role as the UK energy capital, providing thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds of further investment.

Ambitions to produce up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK – will be underpinned by new planning reforms to cut the approval times for new offshore wind farms from four years to one year, and an overall streamlining which will radically reduce the time it takes for new projects to reach construction stages.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall faced lengthy delays in achieving consent for its Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard wind farms, which will provide up to 3.6GW of renewable electricity capacity once operational.

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, said plans to increase domestic energy production would benefit the region and lead to the creation of jobs.

“Norfolk and Suffolk will play a key part in this strategy through offshore wind projects by Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables, nuclear at Sizewell C, hydrogen through Bacton, and Freeport East and solar. This will provide thousands of job opportunities over the coming years.

“We’re pleased to see the commitment to speeding up the offshore wind planning process but would like to see Government investment in our ports to support this new industry and appropriate mitigation for the communities impacted.”

The strategy puts a strong focus on nuclear, with an ambition to produce up to 24GW by 2050 – representing up to around 25% of the UK’s projected electricity demand.

A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up immediately to bring forward new projects, backed by substantial funding, and a £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund will be launched this month.

If approved, Sizewell C in Suffolk would generate electricity for six million homes and create thousands of high-value jobs. EDF Energy has meanwhile announced that the operating lifespan of Sizewell B may be extended by 20 years to 2055 to support the UK’s clean energy production goals and create employment in the area.

C-J Green commented: “The LEP is very keen to see Sizewell C progress and it is vitally important there is investment to support skills and the local supply chain, as well as mitigating the impact of the development for people living in the area.”

Read the Energy Security Strategy here

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