The group of representatives, led by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, met the Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, to convey their concerns about the approvals process for strategic energy projects.
Six huge schemes have been put forward for East Suffolk - including the Sizewell C nuclear twin reactor, two offshore windfarms supported by a 30-acre electricity substation at Friston, and two international interconnectors for Eurolink and Nautilus.
In East Anglia as a whole there are plans for a dozen large ventures and concern over the cumulative impact on communities is growing.
The delegation, which included East Suffolk Council deputy leader Craig Rivett and county council environment cabinet member Richard Rout, [explained] the situation to the minister.
Dr Coffey said: "While we're all proud of the role that our coast plays in creating renewable and low carbon energy, the cumulative impact of the onshore infrastructure required to facilitate these projects is having a major impact on the countryside, heritage assets and the amenities of local residents - and the approvals process needs to be better co-ordinated to reflect that. Considering each project in isolation is not working and the planning approvals process needs more structure and engagement with the community. Something Ofgem seems to agree with in its recent report.
"I thank the minister for hearing our views and for the constructive discussions.
"I have promised to write to him in more detail on how I think the process can be reformed."
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) Decarbonisation Action Plan suggests money could be saved and the environment better protected if there is more coordination around the infrastructure of projects.
Ofgem said: "We do not consider that individual radial offshore transmission links for this amount of offshore generation are likely to be economical, sensible or acceptable for consumers and local communities.
"[We] will explore whether a more coordinated offshore transmission system could reduce both financial and environmental costs.
"With more offshore windfarm projects planned, many of which are further from shore than those developed already, there is potential for efficiencies from greater coordination of offshore transmission infrastructure."
Both East Suffolk and Suffolk County councils support the principle of offshore wind, as it will help reduce carbon emissions and provide significant economic benefits to the county and the UK. However, they say this should not be achieved at any cost to Suffolk, its residents and its natural environment.
East Suffolk Council deputy leader Craig Rivett and county council environment cabinet member Richard Rout, who were part of the delegation, said: "We welcome the coordinated approach proposed in this report (from Ofgem). We hope that it means the Government, National Grid and Ofgem form a clear leadership role and strategy on all the energy projects affecting our coast.
"Considering each project in isolation, as is the case with current proposals which we have considerable concerns about, does not seem to make sense and increases the environmental impact and the impact on local communities.
"We believe we can minimise the harm to local communities through better regulation, coordination and planning, as we aim to deliver net zero carbon emissions."
The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) has stated publicly that it wants to engage with both the Norwegian and U.K. authorities to pull them into the development of the offshore hub. As well as offshore wind expertise and access to the North Sea, both can also use oil and gas know-how to store hydrogen in offshore reservoirs and retrofit gas pipelines to transport hydrogen instead. A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The government recognizes the benefits of hybrid projects, including joint interconnector and wind projects, which may develop into efficient and cost-effective solutions to help the U.K. decarbonize. We are continuing to engage with stakeholders and developers to understand the potential benefits of these projects.”
Installing an additional 30GW within ten years will require significant changes to a range of policy frameworks, and co-operation between government and industry, writes Christopher Hopson