East Anglia is at the heart of the UK’s renewable energy sector.

With 43pc of the nation’s offshore wind generated on our shores and one of the country’s most important nuclear power plants on the horizon, our region is leading the way in the fight for net zero.

The sector has a £3.6bn turnover, not only making it a major employer and economic driver in the region, but for the country at large. 

But industry experts warn that soaring costs, a growing skills gap, and limited infrastructure to support the expanding sector are creating unprecedented difficulties. 

We spoke to two of the industry’s biggest local players about the most exciting - and challenging - features of the modern renewable landscape. 

Marjorie Barnes, Sizewell head of regional external affairs and development

Eastern Daily Press: Marjorie Barnes, Sizewell head of regional development Marjorie Barnes, Sizewell head of regional development (Image: Sizewell)

“We will see electricity generation become increasingly cleaner with more renewables and new nuclear stations coming online replacing dependency on fossil fuels. In Suffolk, Sizewell C will play a big part in that story – generating enough low-carbon power for six million homes for at least 60 years. 

“It’s going to be a game-changer for the region, creating thousands of employment and apprenticeship opportunities across a broad range of occupations and careers and will provide a major boost to the regional supply chain. 

“We’ll also see new technologies mature and come online over the next five to 10 years, which will have a big impact on how we lower emissions and minimise the impacts of climate change. That’s a part of our plan at Sizewell C too: to make our project bridge some of the future technologies that will be essential to Britain’s low-carbon energy transition.

“This year, for example, our plans for a prototype Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility in Lowestoft were approved – helping to advance carbon capture technology right here in Suffolk and we’ve ordered our first hydrogen buses to test on our construction site. 

“That’s just some of the many associated low-carbon technologies and initiatives that we’re developing as part of this project.”

Ross Ovens, ScotishPower Renewables' managing director for the East Anglia Hub

Eastern Daily Press: Ross Ovens, ScotishPower Renewables' managing director for the East Anglia HubRoss Ovens, ScotishPower Renewables' managing director for the East Anglia Hub (Image: Scottish Power)

"Offshore wind already has a 33-year proven track record in UK and, as an industry, it’s matured over that time, with the UK taking a world-leading position thanks to regions like the East of England. 

"The projects that we’re operating and building today will be powering our lives for the next five, 10, 20, 30 years, with more productive and powerful turbines and technology a visible sign of how much the industry has grown. 

"While this is all really exciting, we now need to go further and faster than ever before. That means building more offshore windfarms and getting more green electricity on to the grid as soon as possible. That’s the single most important thing we can do to cut customers’ bills and strengthen our energy security. 

"So, we need to make it easier and quicker to get spades in the ground and boats on the water. We have to make the UK a destination of choice for offshore wind by speeding up scrutiny and decision-making and creating forward-looking certainty that supports jobs, investment and economic growth.

"The government has now signalled that it’s committed to getting the UK’s pipeline of offshore wind projects moving again and we’re ready and willing to play our part and deliver our East Anglia Hub offshore windfarms and a cleaner and greener future."