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Energy Minister to meet 200 strong industry delegation at Westminster

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Energy Minister Richard Harrington will hear how important the “all-energy” East of England is to the nation’s future energy security from a 200-strong industry delegation at Westminster next week.

The critical role of developing local skills to service the future of the growing offshore wind industry, the mature oil & gas sector and nuclear industry will also be in the spotlight at the heart of power.

Mr Harrington, Minister for Energy and Industry, will meet and address delegates at the East of England Energy Group’s (EEEGR) reception in the Members’ Dining Room on Wednesday (October 18).

Last month, Mr Harrington announced a record amount of renewable capacity had been secured in the second Contracts for Difference auction. The East of England is the UK leader for offshore wind.

“We’ve placed clean growth at the heart of the Industrial Strategy to unlock opportunities across the country, while cutting carbon emissions. The offshore wind sector alone will invest £17.5bn in the UK up to 2021 and thousands of new jobs in British businesses will be created by the projects,” he said.

Mr Harrington assured oil & gas leaders when he met them in Aberdeen in August that the industry had the “full support of the UK Government, and that we are continuing to create the right environment through a stable and supportive package to allow business, enterprise and jobs to flourish.”

“These are challenging but exciting times with new opportunities in North Sea oil and gas. We are working with the sector to build on the £2.3bn worth of UK Government support through our modern Industrial Strategy.

Guests at the reception will also hear details of a new £10m energy skills centre at East Coast College, Lowestoft, and how it will bring training, jobs and ambition to coastal communities, from college principal Stuart Rimmer.

The centre is being made possible by funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Other speakers at the reception, organised by the Great Yarmouth-based EEEGR through the office of Dr Thérèse Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP, include Jim Crawford, Project Development Director for EDF Energy’s Sizewell, and Eric Marston, of the Oil and Gas Authority, and Fraser Weir, of Centrica, who will give an update on EEEGR’s Southern North Sea (SNS) Rejuvenation Special Interest Group.

Jonathan Cole, managing director, Iberdrola Renewables Offshore, will share the progress of its East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm and plans for its proposed future zones.

Great Yarmouth and Waveney MPs Brandon Lewis and Peter Aldous are also expected to attend, with other MPs from the East of England.

Simon Gray, EEEGR CEO, said: “Our special blend of offshore wind, nuclear and continued exploration and development of gas can provide the lower carbon key for a secure energy economy for generations to come.

“Our region has more than 50 years’ offshore expertise and a vibrant, forward-thinking and growing supply chain and skills base serving the most diverse range of energy in the UK. The East of England is critical to the nation’s future energy security, and that’s the message we will be taking to Westminster.

“The capability, potential and activity of the East of England energy industry is immense, as is its impact on regenerating the local economy and providing new skills in communities, which is a key area of focus for EEEGR’s Skills for Energy programme.”

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