Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas windfarms to boost East Anglia’s offshore renewables industry
Two famous names from Norfolk’s maritime past will take to the sea once more, as Swedish energy firm Vattenfall reveals plans to push ahead with one of the world’s biggest wind farms off the East Anglian coast.
A link to history
HMS Vanguard was built in Deptford in March 1787, with 74 guns and 589 crew.
She joined Nelson’s fleet in March 1798, and was involved in the Battle of the Nile against the French, where she suffered badly, with 30 killed 70 wounded. Captains included Thomas Hardy, who was at Nelson’s side on the hero’s final fateful voyage on HMS Victory in 1803. Vanguard ended her days as prison ship and powder hulk, and was broken up in 1821.
HMS Boreas, a 28-gun frigate, came under Nelson’s command in March 1784, when he was tasked with stopping smuggling between the West Indies and the Northern American colonies.
But it wasn’t all work – much of Nelson’s courting of his wife Frances (Fanny) was done by letter from Boreas.
The pair met as she was keeping house for her rich uncle on the island of Nevis.
Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas – named after two of Lord Nelson’s ships – would each generate enough power for 1.3 million homes, and could create hundreds of jobs if construction proceeds as planned.
The two projects form the northern part of the East Anglia offshore wind zone, the southern part of which is already under way with ScottishPower Renewables’ £2.5bn East Anglia One development.
Scoping for Vanguard, the first of the two 1.8GW projects, will begin this summer, with an application expected in summer 2018, while development of Boreas will begin next year – with Vattenfall confirming that at least half the construction and operations jobs will be UK-based.
Ruari Lean, Vattenfall project manager for Norfolk Vanguard, said: “Vattenfall wants to work with Norfolk to capture the benefits of offshore wind.
“There is an opportunity for Norfolk business and securing Norfolk jobs.”
Energy secretary Amber Rudd said in November that 10GW of offshore wind power could be online by 2020, with further 10GW in the following decade, but warned the government “will not support offshore wind at any cost”.
Andy Paine, Vanguard’s project director and Vattenfall’s head of UK offshore wind, said the company was driving down the cost of wind power below the 2020 target of £100MWh, with a subsidy-free model expected by the “mid-2020s”.
He added: “As the industry grows, costs will fall; that’s why offshore wind has a great future in the UK.
“An industry is emerging in Norfolk and we are convinced that the region is well placed to secure an even bigger role in the sector.”
The Vattenfall projects have been formalised following discussions with the Crown Estate last week.
ScottishPower Renewables is already developing the £2.5bn 714MW East Anglia One project, which will use Great Yarmouth port during construction, and Lowestoft port for maintenance over the next 30 years.
It is also developing East Anglia Three, with a capacity of up to 1.2GW, and will take forward East Anglia Two and East Anglia One North, each with a capacity of 800MW.
Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead at the renewables hub OrbisEnergy, said the local economy would received a major boost.
He added: “It also shows the Swedish company’s confidence in the experience and expertise of the county’s supply chain, which has been working on major projects in the southern North Sea for decades.
“The region not only has the skills but also the ports, land and high-quality office accommodation needed to provide Vattenfall with a sound base for many years to come.”
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