EEEGR wraps up record-breaking East Anglia Offshore Wind Event

EEEGR

The East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) has wrapped up its most successful East Anglia Offshore Wind Week event to date. The event, centred around OrbisEnergy, Lowestoft, celebrated the continued progress of offshore wind in East Anglia. With cutting-edge offshore wind farms being developed off the east coast of England, the region is at the epicentre of offshore wind internationally and is the offshore energy hub for the UK.

This year, EEEGR’s East Anglia Offshore Wind Week simultaneously celebrated the success of the industry so far and emphasised the local industry’s potential in maintaining East Anglia at the forefront of global offshore wind development. EEEGR highlighted that around £6 billion has been spent to date on the construction of local operating offshore wind farms. In 2019, a total of £553 million is estimated to have been spent by local wind farms in both construction and development. This year alone, £200 million was invested in developing nine new projects. Total capital expenditure, including the £6 billion already invested, is expected to reach £28.3 billion should all nine projects be constructed.


EEEGR’s ambitious event line-up included a number of site visits on Thursday 21st November. Primary event sponsor SSE Renewables along with ScottishPower Renewables, Equinor and Associated British Ports opened their doors to reveal the inner workings of the offshore wind industry and highlight new opportunities and innovations. This was followed by an informal exhibition, informative workshops and a meet the buyer event at OrbisEnergy. These sessions provided updates on the various offshore wind markets across the globe and on-going developments throughout the supply chain to lower the cost of offshore wind.

The day was rounded up with a drinks reception and a conference dinner at the Ivy House Country Hotel. Delegates heard from Doug Parr, Chief Scientist and Policy Director at Greenpeace UK and were provided with an opportunity to network with industry professionals and reflect on the continued success of the offshore wind sector.

Friday 22nd saw EEEGR present its East Anglia Offshore Wind Week Conference, with a record-breaking 220 delegates in attendance. The conference consisted of presentations from some of the world’s leading offshore developers, who provided updates on their current portfolios and project pipelines extending into the 2020s, which are essential to the UK meeting its 30 GW by 2030 offshore wind goal. As well as those developers included in the tours, Vattenfall, Innogy and Ørsted also highlighted their projects.


The conference additionally highlighted ongoing investment and programmes being run by educational institutions and developers, with the aim of bridging the energy skills gap. Delegates heard from the East Coast College, UEA and the Ogden Trust internship, who presented passionate students and young people looking to forge careers in the industry. Speakers also highlighted efforts being made to increase the number of women entering the industry to 33%, as set out in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal.


Simon Gray, Chief Executive Officer of EEEGR, commented: “EEEGR has been delighted with the feedback we have received to date for the enhancements we made this year to the Offshore Wind Week – East Anglia celebrations. The site visits, vessel tours, industry workshops, meet the buyer and conference dinner have all been new developments that have proven to be hugely popular with delegates. A number of students and interns won huge praise from the appreciative audience for their motivational presentations highlighting their experiences on their courses or internships outlining their desire to break into the industry.  All aspects of the events were close to capacity or sold out, reflecting the huge interest in the offshore wind sector. We are grateful to our sponsors and all of those that so generously gave of their time and facilities to showcase the industry in the East of England.”


Headline sponsor SSE Renewables was a major driving force behind EEEGR’s East Anglia Offshore Wind Week event. The company operates the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm off Lowestoft which entered into operation in September 2012. SSE Renewables is currently in the process of developing an extension to the project, which could have a capacity of up to 500 MW. During the event, the company opened the doors to its Greater Gabbard offshore wind operations and maintenance base located in the Port of Lowestoft. From here, it coordinates all operations for the project.


Jeremy Williamson, Director of Operations at SSE Renewables, said: "We are proud to be the main sponsor of EEEGR's offshore wind week event this year, reflecting our commitment to the East of England. It was great to open our doors to visitors to look around the Greater Gabbard operations base in Lowestoft and get a real feel for what it's like to run a 504 MW offshore wind farm on a day to day basis. I was also proud to talk about the work that the Greater Gabbard team is doing to develop the next generation of the offshore wind industry via our apprenticeships programme. We look forward to building on Greater Gabbard’s significant presence in Lowestoft and surrounding communities with development of the Greater Gabbard Extension project with our JV partner innogy."