Peter Aldous spoke in a debate on concerns about electricity transmission infrastructure. He called on National Grid to work with affected communities to mitigate the impact so we can press ahead with the roll-out of offshore wind which is vital for the UK's zero carbon energy ambitions and will bring much-needed well paid jobs to this area.
The Waveney constituency and across East Anglia much is being achieved through harnessing natural resources. Parts of one of the largest clusters of offshore wind farms in the world are either in operation, being built, or being planned. 4GW of power is already operational off the East Anglian coast, accounting for over 50% of the UK’s installed capacity.
This success is being mirrored in energy hot spots around the UK and, with potential developments in the pipeline, we will be able to provide much of the Government’s newly revised higher target of 40GW by 2030 and subsequently 75GW by 2050.
The Government must work collaboratively with local communities and industry when developing the regulatory framework to ensure that industry is not disadvantaged.
There are a number of opportunities for the oil & gas sector as the UK transforms to net zero carbon emissions. The sector has an ongoing role in providing energy security and it clearly reduces carbon footprint to use UK oil and gas rather than imports. The industry can act as a bridge to a low-carbon future, promoting the use of gas, hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage. There are transferable skills to the offshore renewables sector and, finally, the large amount of work in the decommissioning of oil and gas assets in the North Sea.
Nuclear energy also has an important part to play in providing long-term low-carbon energy security and it is important we press ahead with projects such as Sizewell C in Suffolk.
Finally, with the UK having 50% of Europe’s tidal energy and 35% of its wave energy, the UK is in pole position to be the world leader in this sector, which could contribute to the UK’s future energy mix, further improving self-sufficiency. We should support these emerging technologies to bring down their costs, and consider funding arrangements to support them in their early stages, as we did with solar and wind.
Peter Aldous is working with Power for People and sponsoring the Local Electricity Bill to deliver more clean, local energy that benefits local communities.
Peter Aldous welcomes ScottishPower Renewables success in the Contract for Difference auction for its East Anglia Three offshore wind project, and asks about future CfD auctions which will allow more offshore wind development and bring more jobs to coastal communities such as those in Waveney.
Whilst recognising the need for short-term measures to support people with energy bills, Peter Aldous cautions against unintended consequences that could undermine investment in emerging lower carbon industries such as offshore wind, hydrogen production and carbon capture which are vital to the regeneration of towns such as Lowestoft.
Peter Aldous welcomes the significant infrastructure investment at East Coast College with the energy skills centre in Lowestoft and the civil engineering and construction campus at Lound, but calls for a long-term strategic approach to ensure that local people can acquire the necessary skills for the jobs emerging in low-carbon energy along the East Anglian coast.
Peter Aldous questions the Government on the impact of changes to tax policy on electricity generators on investment in clean, low-carbon energy infrastructure that is crucial to creating long-term, rewarding jobs in coastal areas such as Waveney.
Peter Aldous calls on the Government to ensure that the regulatory framework for its hydrogen strategy is sufficiently flexible to also incentivise hydrogen projects in areas outside the identified low-carbon clusters.
Following a statement on the energy profits levy; the new 25% surcharge on the oil and gas sector, Peter Aldous seeks assurances from the Government that the levy will not imperil vital investment in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the creation of long-term jobs in emerging industries such as offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, which are very important in coastal communities.
At the start of the new Parliamentary session, Peter Aldous speaks in the debate on the Queen’s Speech and outlines the areas where he believes the Government needs to focus; more targeted assistance to help people with the cost of living crisis, helping everyone realise their full potential, address the challenges in energy supply and the transition to net zero, and reduce NHS waiting lists and the lack of NHS dentists.