'This makes a real statement' - energy minister launches £250m offshore wind deal
PUBLISHED: 17:12 07 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:38 10 March 2019
The government's energy minister was in Lowestoft today to launch a £250m offshore wind deal that looks set to create several thousand jobs.
Claire Perry visited the Suffolk coast on Thursday to unveil the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, aimed at generating a third of British electricity using wind by 2030.
An estimated 27,000 jobs will be created across the country by 2032 as a result of the deal, 6,000 of which will be in East Anglia.
ScottishPower Renewables, whose operations hub for the East Anglia ONE wind farm is based in Lowestoft, has meanwhile pledged to pursue further offshore projects as part of its own £6bn investment plan.
Ms Perry visited the ScottishPower base to make the announcement before joining a roundtable gathering of industry experts in Great Yarmouth.
She said: “It felt particularly appropriate to launch this project in Lowestoft because the town, along with Great Yarmouth and other places along the east coast, is already benefitting from the growth in offshore wind.
“A couple of years ago there were just a few turbines, but now offshore wind accounts for about 7pc of the UK’s energy supply and we want to take it to over 30pc.
“I’ve been talking to local fishermen, lifeboat crews - people who have maritime skills in their blood. What’s going to be amazing is seeing the renaissance of these towns, helped by an industry that looks out to sea – exactly what they were built on.
“It’s great to have something that benefits people locally, but we’ll all benefit because we’ll be getting completely clean energy from this.”
Construction is already under way at ScottishPower’s £2.5bn East Anglia ONE, which will see 102 turbines deployed. In total, it could provide enough clean energy to power the equivalent of more than 630,000 homes annually.
The company has also committed to only generating 100pc green energy as it makes plans for further wind farms in the North Sea.
Keith Anderson, ScottishPower chief executive, added: “This is an industry that’s creating lots of jobs, allowing companies to invest, and letting us attract youngsters coming out of school into apprenticeships and highly-skilled jobs – all because there’s a long-term future.
“We saw school children demonstrating recently because they want this country to do more to tackle climate change, and that’s what this deal is all about.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who joined his Conservative colleague at Lowestoft Docks for the launch, was enthusiastic about the town’s part in the new deal.
He said: “This sector deal for the offshore wind industry covers the whole country, so it’s very important that it’s being launched here in Lowestoft and makes a real statement.
“Alongside Orbis opening around 15 years ago and ScottishPower’s base emerging in Lowestoft, what we’ve done in East Anglia over the past few years is set the foundation for the industry having a long-term future.”