Clear investable hydrogen proposals being developed with investment secured are among the measures of success for a new Norfolk & Suffolk Economic Strategy.
Launched by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the strategy – an “ambitious blueprint for the UK’s clean growth region” – sets out a vision of Norfolk and Suffolk becoming a centre for the UK’s clean energy sector, exploiting the strength and diversity of their energy sector and supply chain, strategic location, skills base and connectivity to other regions. It focuses on actions needed over the next three to five years, as it looks to accelerate Norfolk and Suffolk’s transition to a zero carbon economy and upskill the workforce for inclusive growth, though notes it is looking to 2036.
Delving into the potential of the area, it mapped out how Norfolk and Suffolk is the UK’s epicentre for energy generation, owed to its unique mix of onshore and offshore renewables, gas and nuclear, and emerging opportunities for hydrogen. Hydrogen crops up throughout the plan, with specific reference made to how Norfolk and Suffolk is the UK’s leading producer of clean energy and at the forefront of the Southern North Sea transition, with thriving bioenergy, hydrogen and energy storage industries.
On the Southern North Sea, it noted that it is the UK’s natural gas basin, with a third of the UK’s domestic gas requirements handled at Bacton Gas Terminal. Both the Oil and Gas Authority and Hydrogen East have highlighted the potential of Bacton to become a significant hydrogen production site for London and the South East in recent reports, stimulating local markets for clean transport solutions and decarbonising the regional economy. It is pledging to work with Hydrogen East to deliver a viable route map for Norfolk and Suffolk to become a leading hydrogen region, maximising the opportunities at Bacton, as well as Sizewell C and Freeport East, among other aims.
It is further pledging to deliver new, and adapt existing infrastructure to ensure it is flexible, resilient and sustainable, supporting people, businesses and places, with this involving building on the area’s strengths and expertise in clean energy, AI and emerging opportunities in hydrogen, alongside businesses such as Lotus and Anglian Water, while an Alternative Fuel Strategy and action plan is in development with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. It cited clear investable hydrogen proposals being developed and having investment secured as one of its measures for success.