October 21 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 31, 2014
The company behind the planned Galloper wind farm off the Suffolk coast has agreed a deal to make Lowestoft its operational base for the project.
Galloper Offshore Wind Farm Ltd, a joint venture between energy groups RWE Innogy UK and SSE, has signed an agreement with Associated British Ports (ABP) to locate its operations and maintenance (O&M) base on the old fish market site at the Port of Lowestoft.
The site lies alongside the O&M base for the existing Greater Gabbard wind farm, which will itself be a close neighbour of the Galloper turbines, construction work on which is due to start in 2016.
Galloper Offshore Wind said the fish market site would now be the home of the Galloper O&M team for the entire operating life time of the wind farm.
Although it is not specifying the number of jobs involved at this stage, it added: “The local area will no doubt benefit from the multi million pound conversion and the long term skilled engineering jobs available at the port to staff the base.”
“The investment into the ABP Port of Lowestoft is Galloper’s highest value, long-term contract awarded to date and reinforces the company’s commitment to investing into the South East area.”
And it added “Today’s assurance provides increased security for many of the businesses established nearby which are linked to supporting the existing operating wind farms.”
Galloper project director Bart Oberink said: “The ABP Port of Lowestoft has proved itself extremely capable as the base of the existing Greater Gabbard Wind Farm. We are delighted to confirm this port for Galloper Wind Farm.”
Roger Arundale, ABP’s deputy port manager in East Anglia, said: “This contract is a great vote of confidence for our port and the wider area.
“This contract, together with the decision to establish the O&M base for the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm is a welcome consolidation of Suffolk’s ‘green’ coast acting as a springboard for investment and job creation in the locality.”
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, added: “It’s great news that Galloper Wind Farm have confirmed that the Port of Lowestoft will be their operations and maintenance base.
“This long term commitment reinforces Lowestoft’s position as an emerging hub for the offshore renewables sector and will help bring jobs and infrastructure investment to the area.”
Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), welcomed the announcement as good news for the LEP’s Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone.
“This builds on the recent decision to locate the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm operations and maintenance base in Great Yarmouth and sends a very clear message that the East of England is the UK’s prime location for the offshore wind industry,” he said.
“The enterprise zone is based across six sites in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth and offers great incentives for energy-related businesses with ambitions to grow jobs.
“In addition to a discount on business rates, simplified planning and superfast broadband, companies in the Enterprise Zone now have the added benefit of a major hub for operations and maintenance of the wind farm on their doorstep. This could provide exciting supply chain opportunities, for companies which are looking to expand and grow.”
The Galloper site is about 17 miles off the Suffolk coast and the wind farm will involve up to 140 turbines, with the potential to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of around 330,000 average UK households.
One of East Anglia’s largest crane hire companies, Quinto Crane & Plant Ltd, has been bought out in a multi-million pound deal, with the new owner promising to safeguard the jobs for its 125 employees and guaranteeing future investment.