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Norfolk Business Awards 2019

Energy industry council formed to cash-in on wind farm boom

All Energy Industry Council launch. (L-R) Andrew Harston ABP, Chris Starkie New Anglia LEP, MP Peter Aldous, Mark Goodall Chair of Council, Patrick Phelan EEEGR, Stuart Smith EEEGR. Picture: New Anglia LEP

All Energy Industry Council launch. (L-R) Andrew Harston ABP, Chris Starkie New Anglia LEP, MP Peter Aldous, Mark Goodall Chair of Council, Patrick Phelan EEEGR, Stuart Smith EEEGR. Picture: New Anglia LEP

New Anglia LEP

A region-wide All Energy Industry Council has been formed to combat concerns raised about Norfolk and Suffolk's workforce capabilities.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall has said that the region needs to grow its workforce ahead of a series of proposed wind projects in the area - including its own Vanguard project.

Speaking at the Southern North Sea 2019 conference last week, Sue Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall's local liaison officer and skills champion for the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects, said: "If we can encourage a versatile, constantly replenishing intake of young people, then that is good for business, society, education and, of course, the individuals themselves."

Ms Falch-Lovesey said there was a need not only to develop a "highly motivated workforce" but to predict where future skills would be needed, such as IT-related skills, as well as machine learning and robotics experts, in addition to complex data analysts.

And to make sure the East of England is in the best position to deliver on these opportunities, the New Anglia LEP has created an industry council to boost local job opportunities, trade, investment, productivity and growth within the industry.

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The Council - which has Government's backing - will be chaired by Mark Goodall, Senior Manager of Aker Solutions and is made up of energy producers, local authorities, business groups and a member trade body.

Mark Goodall, chair of All Energy Industry Council, said: "Never before has the future of energy been so high on the global agenda in terms of meeting demand while being mindful of climate change."

Norfolk and Suffolk wind farms produce a total of 4GW - more than half of the UK's current 7.5GW installed capacity.

Mr Goodall said: "We need to capitalise on our region's richness in natural resources and be at the forefront of this transition.

"We have a huge opportunity and a responsibility to lead the way, hence the establishment of this council and I look forward to working with this talented collective from industry, education and government to make it happen."

Doug Field, chair of the New Anglia LEP, said: "There is immense opportunity for economic and business growth with the right strategic direction and delivery. "Bringing suppliers and stakeholders together to form the All Energy Industry Council ensures that we can maximise the opportunity and deliver the energy needs of the future."

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