Opened by Senior Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and EEEGR’s CEO Simon Gray, this year’s conference is entitled “Smart Generation: The Transition to 2050”. Over 450 delegates have signed up for the conference, joined by over 60 exhibitors who are enjoying a rich and varied conference spanning two “streamed stages” across two days.
Senior Minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s key message was one of support for the region, alongside a recognition of the economic opportunities provided by the Southern North Sea basin - both now and into a future with a changing energy landscape.
He outlined ambitions for the offshore wind sector reaching exports of £6.2 billion a year within 10 years. When asked what Net Zero meant to him, the minister was emphatic that it was a top-tier priority for the government, giving examples of how changes were already evident in our everyday lives.
Following an exciting opening, the conference split into two dedicated streams: one focusing on oil and gas and the other on renewables.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and energy company ENI headlined the oil and gas stage, discussing the challenges industry faces with current gas prices and the impact of Covid-19.
Against this backdrop of uncertainty, operators have had to launch their net zero strategies. The session explored how the supply chain is key to innovation and future developments, supporting sophisticated plans for electrification, carbon capture and storage as well as decarbonisation.
Deirdre Michie, Oil and Gas UK, said: “We are embracing the green recovery by reducing our own emissions and carbon footprint while contributing to the UK’s net zero ambitions.”
The renewables stream focused on the importance of renewables, the transition to low carbon energy and using the new goldrush for these technologies to jump-start the economy with a “green recovery”.
Speakers from , ORE Catapult, Solar Trade Association and the UK Energy Research Centre presented a formidable panel of experts to talk on the subject. Tom predicted that nuclear would contribute up to 40% of our clean electricity by 2050, which in turn will contribute £33bn per year to the economy.
Capitalising on our existing infrastructure and skilled workforce, the OGA highlighted the great advantage the region has for delivering on the UK’s 2050 net zero ambitions.
Following a busy morning, the lunch break saw digital delegates explore the exhibition, download various resources and book further interactions through the “one-to-one” facility and industry round-table discussions.
The afternoon session resumed with speakers Jonathan Cole from ScottishPower Renewables, Danielle Lane of Vattenfall, Julia Pyke from EDF and Deirdre Michie of OGUK discussing some key points raised by Senior Minister Kwasi Kwarteng in his morning address.
Jonathan Cole, ScottishPower Renewables, said: "We look forward to continuing the really positive engagement that we have with the government as we make sure the full potential of offshore wind is realised.
“The £100m funding is currently coming from industry. Working with the government to get more funding will be an important step forward."
Danielle Lane, Vattenfall, said: “If we are going to meet net zero, we need to be in a position where we can make decisions in a timely manner. We need an efficient decision-making process to make an impact.”
Julia Pyke, EDF, said: “For a sense of scale, if we dedicated Sizewell C to carbon air capture, we estimate that we could capture 28 million tonnes of carbon a year, which would virtually offset the UK’s aviation emissions.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to keep Britain at the forefront of net zero.”
ScottishPower Renewable’s Charlie Jordan, along with Cluster Champion Martin Dronfield, led the afternoon session on the renewables stage, with Martin declaring the “eastern region as the most successful enterprise zone in the country. With 800 businesses committed to the region, consistently investing in skills along with new facilities.”
The oil and gas stream conference finished on a high with DNV.GL looking at opportunities for offshore projects in East Anglia/SNS. The DNV.GL’s annual Energy Transition Outlook Report was discussed, which predicts that by 2030 there will be a plateau in global energy demand.
The renewables stream finished with Luke Wainwright from National Grid ESO discussing offshore energy integration. The discussion looked at regulatory as well as technical barriers and identifying solutions to meet these targets.
Simon Gray and Andy Holyland of the ORE Catapult closed day one of the conference announcing the 10 successful companies in the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables New Anglia Programme. The first of its type, this business support programme is dedicated to the offshore renewables industry. Its objective is to build on local successes and improve the local content offering to the UK’s offshore wind farm fleet, as well as manufacturing and export potential.
The companies selected for the programme are: UK, Systems ltd, Warren Services Ltd, Fern Communications Limited, EnerMech, Clean Energy, Prior Power Solutions, Aquaterra Energy, Lintott Control Systems and Ltd.
Day one of EEEGR’s SNS2020 was hosted on the digital platform and supported by Platinum Event Sponsor ScottishPower Renewables and Exhibition Sponsor RWE. The day saw 3,292 contacts made, 1,549 messages exchanged, 870 discussions conducted, and 165 video meetings supported.
"Thank you to our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and supporters the first day of our event has far exceeded my expectations,” said Simon Gray. “The success of SNS2020 day one demonstrates the power of working together, we would have far rather had a face-to-face event but what we have achieved today to bridge the gap has been outstanding.
“ I would also like to give a big thank you to all attendees for embracing the virtual event and technology, we couldn’t do it without you."
For more information on SNS2020, click here.