Waveney MP reflects on green energy opportunities

Perter Aldous MP

In his round-up of January 2020, Waveney MP Peter Aldous has highlighted some strong energy developments in the region.

On 31st January, Mr Aldous attended the opening ceremony of Lowestoft’s new state-of-the-art port office, which represents a £250,000 investment and re-affirms the Association of British Ports' (ABP’s) commitment to supporting the UK’s growing offshore energy sector and long-term energy sustainability.

The port offices reflect a larger £2.2 million investment in Lowestoft's port over the past year, bringing new jobs to the area in service of the growing offshore wind industry as well as oil and gas decommissioning. The port hosted more than 4,000 Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) calls in 2019.

At the time, Mr Aldous said:  "
It was a great pleasure to officially open ABP’s new port office in Lowestoft. This represents a significant investment in the port, which has a key role to play in the local economy, bringing new jobs to the area to service the offshore wind industry, oil and gas decommissioning and a revitalised fishing industry.

“The port is also increasingly popular with leisure and sailing crafts, as well as being the home port of CEFAS Endeavour, which compliments well CEFAS’ investment in their new office headquarters at Pakefield.”

In parliament, Mr Aldous welcomed green energy and fishing opportunities for the East Anglian coastsal region in the Queen’s Speech, urging the government to sieze these opportunities to revitalize the area. In the House of Commons on 15th January, he said: “
A green industrial revolution is currently taking place in Suffolk and Norfolk. Off our coast, parts of one of the largest clusters of offshore wind farms in the world are either in operation, being built, or being planned.”

He added: “Successive Governments have done well in creating the policy framework in which the green industrial revolution is taking place—a framework that encourages ​technological advance, innovation, and inward investment. The cornerstone is the Climate Change Act 2008 and the creation of the Committee on Climate Change. That was followed by the industrial strategy, the clean growth strategy, and sector deals, including that for offshore wind, which was launched by former Minister Claire Perry in Lowestoft last March. Subsequently, last summer we enshrined in law the legally binding target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050—the first major economy to do that. That target is robust and realistic, and in line with scientific expert advice from the Committee on Climate Change, which stated that there is no evidence that a target date earlier than 2050 is feasible.

“We now need to get on with the policies that are required to reach net zero. Provided that we do not dither and delay, we may be able to achieve this target earlier. Such policies include those set out in the Conservative manifesto of increasing the UK’s ambition on offshore wind to up to 40 GW by 2030, enabling floating wind farms and committing £800 million to building the first fully deployed carbon capture and storage cluster by the mid-2020s.

“In East Anglia, much has been achieved: 4 GW of offshore wind power is already operational off the East Anglian coast, accounting for over 50% of the UK’s installed capacity. With the potential developments in the pipeline, we can provide much of the Government’s new revised higher target. Investment to facilitate that further development is taking place: in autumn, the £10 million Energy Skills Centre was opened on East Coast College’s Lowestoft campus, and ScottishPower completed the new £25 million operations and maintenance base in the Hamilton dock. Later this year, CEFAS—the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science—will open its new offices and laboratory in Pakefield. It provides, and will continue to provide, the best fisheries scientific advice, but it is also now giving advice on offshore renewable energy to Governments across the world. It is a trusted bridge linking the public sector to academia and private industry.”

Mr Aldous said “much has been achieved” in East Anglia but added that “the region is very much unrepresented when it comes to the supply and installation of main components. There are a number of main contractors in the region with the expertise to do this work, including Sembmarine SLP, James Fisher Marine Services, Seajacks, 3sun and Global Marine Group-C Wind.

“The offshore wind sector deal has the potential to stimulate the required inward investment in components manufacturing, which will create longer and more resilient supply chains and more local jobs. We need to work with those businesses to ensure that they can realise ​their full potential. That will also require investment in infrastructure, particularly in ports such as Lowestoft. If we do that, then ultimately opportunities will open up for more UK businesses to develop and export low-carbon goods and services, thereby facilitating the global transition to net zero.”