During the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) SNS2017 conference, RenewableUK chief executive Hugh McNeal said the UK energy industry needed to represent itself as one sector containing different technologies, instead of pushing for one technology over others, to maximise job and business opportunities.
Speaking to delegates from offshore wind, oil & gas and nuclear companies, as well as supply chain businesses about “a post-Brexit world”, he called for technologies across the energy sector to work more closely with each other and to speak with one voice.
“We can’t afford to focus inwards and focus on the value of different technologies,” McNeal said. “All of us who work in energy must work together and we must take responsibility to end public attacks on one technology or another.”
An end to playing for political advantage at the expense of other sectors was especially important now the industry needed to maximise every opportunity, he said. “We need a balanced approach – one which recognises business and employment opportunities from all energy sectors.”
Forward thinking, innovation and collaboration of different technologies – offshore and onshore oil & gas, renewables and nuclear – to speak with one over-arching energy voice was already happening in the east of England, setting an example to the often-polarised national industries, the event attendees were told.
“It is unique in this part of the world – here in the east of England, you uniquely represent all of these sectors so it’s even more important here and it is clear that you already embrace this in the east,” McNeal said.
He further added that renewables was now a USD 300 billion mainstream industry – when in 2010, renewables were marginal technologies.
“What has been achieved in renewables in the East of England in places that have been crying out for new business and investment is really striking.”
He mentioned companies CWind, Seajacks, 3sun, Rotos360 and James Fisher Marine Services for the fast growth and investment they had secured. By “genuine risk taking and entrepreneurship” they had driven investment and brought skilled jobs to areas like Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft that needed new investment, he said.