Opening of windfarm centre marks 30-year ‘commitment to town’
PUBLISHED: 16:26 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 04 November 2019
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The opening of a state-of-the-art operations building for the region’s largest windfarm marks a “fantastic” three decade commitment to Lowestoft and it’s people, claim project directors leading a £25 million investment.
ScottishPower Renewables officially opened their new operations and maintenance building in Hamilton Road on Friday, October 18, where 100 full-time employees will be based for the 30-year lifespan of the windfarm.
Project director Charlie Jordan said: "This is a very important day for us to open the home of our East Anglia ONE windfarm. We started working on this project over 10 years ago and recently we have had some very big milestones.
"We are investing in skills and local employment and we are looking forward to building on the benefits and commitments we have made to Lowestoft and East Anglia. That is what this building symbolises.
"In just 14 months, the construction team have turned an empty site on the Port of Lowestoft into a state-of-the-art establishment and we are grateful for all of the work which has made the base into what you see today. Most of the operations and maintenance team are based within a few miles of the site and have worked on other local windfarms, bringing with them great knowledge and expertise. This has allowed us to perfect design elements of the base, making it super-efficient and reinforcing the East of England's leading position in the sector.
"With the windfarm due to be complete next year, the building is already buzzing with local employees and contractors all helping us to create clean, green energy to meet the UK's carbon reduction targets."
The opening follows the generation of the first power from the windfarm on September 12, with the £2.5 billion project aiming to provide enough clean energy to power the equivalent of more than 630,000 homes annually.
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East Anglia ONE is the first of four offshore windfarms the company are developing in the region.
Matthew Wooltorton, project execution manager, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for Lowestoft with 100 long-term jobs for people from the local area."
For 21-year-old Jack Hurren, a trainee balance-of-plant technician, the opportunity was ideal. He said: "It is excellent. I am from the area and it is right on the doorstep. It fell right into my arms.
"It allows local people to extend their opportunities and skills in a way that you don't get anywhere else."
Waveney MP Peter Aldous officially opened the building, saying: "When Brexit is all through and finished, there is a role for the UK to play globally in the business world and what we are doing is a skill that can reach all over the world.
"In the last few weeks, climate change has been at the forefront of the news agenda, but my feeling is we are already doing an awful lot. Lowestoft is at the forefront of the move towards low carbon emissions but we haven't shouted about it enough. We have recognised the need for change and are moving in the right direction.
"Carrying on with the investment in the technology can create a real centre of excellence here in Lowestoft.
"A lot of places are like the wild west where people rush in and once the project is finished it leaves a ghost town with a tumbleweed blowing down the street. ScottishPower Renewables are here for the long-term and that is why it is so important and great they are making such a big commitment to Lowestoft.
"Lowestoft has a proud maritime heritage and the substantial growth of the offshore wind industry, particularly off the coast of East Anglia, will see more generations making a career out at sea. It is great to see Lowestoft leading the way in the UK's offshore wind revolution."