‘The whole project is about reducing the carbon footprint yet they choose to waste thousands of litres of fuel by going to Great Yarmouth.’ Wells harbour master criticises company behind plans for £1.5bn offshore wind farm

Harbour Master Robert Smith on Wells Quay. Picture: Matthew Usher. Harbour Master Robert Smith on Wells Quay. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
6:30 AM

The economy of Wells and north Norfolk will miss out on millions of pounds after an offshore wind farm company decided to base itself 45 miles away, the town harbourmaster has claimed.

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Robert Smith has criticised Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd’s decision to set up in Great Yarmouth as “short sighted” and questioned why people behind a project based on reducing the carbon footprint would “waste thousands of litres of fuel” by choosing to set up on Norfolk’s east coast.

The company, which is planning to build the £1.5bn Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, about 20 miles off the north Norfolk coast, says Great Yarmouth meets its special requirements.

The decision comes as the government announced this week that it will increase subsidies for offshore windpower and cut support for onshore wind and solar power.

Mr Smith said: “Their plan is to use a big hotel ship during the construction phase with workers working 14 days on, 14 days off and they believe the harbour at Wells is not big enough to accommodate that.

“I completely understand that and see why they didn’t choose to work from Wells during the construction phase, but I feel we could certainly accommodate them during the operational phase.

“The whole project is about reducing the carbon footprint yet they choose to waste thousands of litres of fuel by going to Great Yarmouth.

“It doesn’t make sense to me and I believe it is a short sighted decision.”

Mr Smith said north Norfolk would lose out on millions of pounds and many jobs because of the decision.

Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd is owned by Statoil and Statkraft.

Mr Smith’s open criticism is, perhaps, unexpected because he has worked successfully with the two Norwegian energy companies on the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, through the joint venture company Scira.

He said: “I know my comments may be seen as controversial but it’s just how I feel.

“We are now focusing our energies on the Race Bank Offshore Wind Farm so we just have to respect the decision and move on.”

Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd says its wind farm will be located further away from the UK east coast than any other wind farm currently proposed and this raises special requirements relating to vessel performance.

The chairman of Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd board of directors, Halfdan Brustad, said: “We need a harbour with the flexibility to meet the range of concepts under consideration and to accommodate the changes anticipated in vessel solutions as technology develops during the 25-30 year lifetime of the wind farm.

“Great Yarmouth can provide a good location for offices and warehousing on the quayside and a 24/7 harbour to handle the range of vessel categories under consideration”.

The 170-turbine Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm was granted consent in 2012.

Construction of the 400MW facility is anticipated to start in 2016.

5 comments

  • When you know that they wasted 2000 litres of fuel to deliver a newspaper and 2 loaves of bread to the offshore floatel, It's no surprise to hear that they'll waste thousands more. Clean energy???

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    WellsLocal

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • When you know that they wasted 2000 litres of fuel to deliver a newspaper and 2 loaves of bread to the offshore floatel, It's no surprise to hear that they'll waste thousands more. Clean energy???

    Report this comment

    WellsLocal

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • A very sensible comment from Mr. Smith, why not support jobs in North Norfolk and at the same time protect the environment. From what we read in the EDP there is plenty of work in the offshore industries at Yarmouth, why not share some of out!

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    Port Watcher

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

  • Dont forget that Yarmouth's 247 Harbour is staffed by zero hour contract employees.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

  • Great Yarmouth Borough Council and offshore oil and gas business have been working for years to encourage this type of operation and maintenance to locate there. It is accepted that all eastern ports from Kings Lynn to Felixstowe have different unique ability and physical restraints that the experts in the industry are well aware of. Wells have had a huge amount of port investment, as have GY, Harwich and Felixstowe, many restrained through existing contracts and port use. All should be grateful for the work and jobs as and when they come up, and shouldn't begrudge others when chosen, the distance of travel is a key factor in deciding which to chose for ongoing O&M, GY is well placed.

    Report this comment

    in reality

    Thursday, December 5, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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