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Is energy infrastructure an opportunity for your business?

The East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) has big plans for 2021, including building on its virtual event success, developing its Skills for Energy programme and continuing to lobby hard for our region.
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East Anglia ONE wind farm turbines ready for transportation. Picture: EEEGR

Key workers in the East of England’s energy sector have done an amazing job throughout the pandemic of keeping gas and electricity flowing to our nation. The industry has also introduced new policies and safer working practices, including using additional vessels and vehicles to help workers keep their distance and even self-isolate. We thank them all for their determination and effort. 
Now we must consider our future development and the challenges the government has set for our region. The energy white paper and the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution should result in considerable investment in East of England energy projects. 
These range from building Sizewell C, to constructing Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas and Vanguard offshore windfarms, and potentially transforming Bacton gas terminal into a major all-energy hub, as well as associated network infrastructure. 
These projects offer enormous opportunities for our local supply chain, its talented employees and the region’s skills and training providers. They would also play a vital role in helping the UK meet its ‘Net Zero’ commitment to decarbonising the economy by 2050. 
The East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) will continue to lobby hard for our region to win these investments and for our members and other stakeholders to benefit from them. Meanwhile, Skills for Energy (SfE) will continue working with schools, colleges, universities and training organisations to ensure our future workforce has the latest skills to support these projects.  
If you are looking to grow your business in the East of England, we strongly advise you to consider how you can support the local energy sector. 
To find out more about these opportunities and the benefits of EEEGR membership for your business, please email membership@eeegr.com 

3 croppedBehind the scenes at SNS2020. Picture: EEEGR

EEEGR events 2021 
When the pandemic hit, EEEGR decided to maintain core services, provide a diverse range of webinars instead of physical events, and reduce expenditure to ensure our future. 
Thanks to ongoing support from ScottishPower Renewables, we were able to invest in a highly flexible online events system. This enabled us to host a successful, virtual SNS2020 with 61 exhibition booths, 31 conference sessions, 335 video meetings and over 4,000 contacts made and 1,500 messages sent. 
We recorded the majority of SNS2020 presentations, and if you registered to attend you can still view the content via the platform. If you didn’t register but would like to view the content, please get in touch via the email below.  
Now the vaccine rollout has started, we hope to return to face-to-face events later in the year. Meanwhile, we will continue to develop our online capabilities so we can hold more virtual events throughout 2021. These will include online versions of our core events, such as SNS2021 and Wind Week. 
If you have ideas for other events, please email events@eeegr.com

2Students at Skills for Energy 2019. Picture: EEEGR

Skills for Energy 
EEEGR’s Skills for Energy (SfE) programme goes from strength to strength. We’ve continued to support potential industry entrants throughout the pandemic by adapting our existing services to suit a virtual audience. 
That included using our new online events system to deliver Skills for Energy 2020, enabling more than 500 students to engage with employers promoting careers in the energy sector. 
We have more activities and exciting opportunities planned, including the release of our new, inclusive SfE website in February. This will provide relevant and engaging information to students, young people, individuals looking to join the industry, employers, and education and training providers. It will also enable us to extend and expand on SfE’s services. 
For more information and details on how you could get involved, please email skills@eeegr.com
 
East of England Energy Zone (EEEZ) rebrand 
The New Anglia LEP (NALEP), in partnership with local councils, launched the EEEZ brand in 2013 to support investment in the region’s energy sector.  
Since then, the energy sector’s needs and ambitions have changed considerably, not least in its increased focus on renewable energy. As a result, the partnership has decided that now is the time to update the EEEZ brand and its strategy.  
They aim to strengthen Norfolk and Suffolk’s position as the UK’s centre for low-carbon energy production, distribution and use. Following a competitive tender process, Production Bureau, a local creative agency, is now developing a new brand and marketing activity for 2021. 
For more information, please see www.theenergyzone.co.uk or follow @theenergyzoneUK on Twitter and LinkedIn. 
 
OrbisEnergy and EEEGR supporting businesses 
To support the energy sector in 2021, OrbisEnergy and EEEGR have launched a mutual benefits package for tenants and members. Any business taking office space or a virtual tenancy at OrbisEnergy, the region’s clean energy business hub in Lowestoft, will also receive a three-month EEEGR membership. 
Any new EEEGR members will also receive a three-month virtual tenancy at OrbisEnergy, including use of the executive boardroom or meeting facilities for up to two-hours a month. 
Ian Pease, business development manager – All Energy at OrbisEnergy, said: “With EEEGR, we are determined to support the region’s energy sector businesses and inward investors. We are delighted to offer these significant benefits to new clients and members.” 

1Martin Dronfield, EEEGR chair. Picture: EEEGR

EEEGR’s new manifesto 
Economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19, the oil price downturn and Brexit has created a challenging environment for EEEGR and its members. EEEGR has protected itself by focusing on providing core services online but that has also meant reducing overheads and pausing recruitment. As a result, “we are not delivering to the levels we demand of ourselves,” says EEEGR’s chair, Martin Dronfield, “but we intend to fix that in 2021.” 
EEEGR is an industry-led, membership organisation that has served the East of England’s all-energy sector for almost 20 years. In that time, it has evolved its operating model to meet the industry’s changing needs. As well as lobbying for the sector, it provides members with business development, skills leadership and innovation promotion opportunities. 
“We aim to maximise the region’s position at the centre of the UK’s clean energy revolution,” says Martin. “That requires a clear, sustainable strategy to reinvigorate our capabilities and add more value to our members. To that end, we will shortly publish our new manifesto outlining our vision and our commitment to the energy sector in the region.”