Norfolk chosen as operations hub for two of world's largest wind farms
PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 04 November 2019
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A generation of jobs in Great Yarmouth's energy industry has been secured after the town was chosen as the home base for two of the world's largest offshore wind farms.
Vattenfall, which is proposing to build the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas wind farms off the East Anglian coast, has agreed a "multimillion pound" deal to reserve space at Great Yarmouth harbour to site an operations and maintenance base and dock the vessels needed for its projects.
The Swedish energy giant believes its investment, due in the early 2020s, will secure jobs in Great Yarmouth over the course of the wind farms' 25-year life span and hopes it will attract more inward investment and energy supply chain companies to the region.
The contract with Peel Ports Great Yarmouth is contingent on the wind farms receiving approval from the planning inspectorate - expected in the next two years - but Vattenfall bosses are quietly confident of success.
Ruari Lean, Norfolk Vanguard project manager at Vattenfall, said that while an exact total for the investment in Great Yarmouth had not been established, the firm's previous experience of building O&M bases in the UK suggested it would a "multi-million pound commitment".
He said the new base will create around 150 jobs including technicians and offshore vessel crew members as well as finance, administration and logistics staff.
"Those will just be Vattenfall employees, and we know from experience that we will need support from other contractors in the area and we hope we would be attracting new contractors to establish themselves in the area too," he said.
"We have been in dialogue with the port for 18 months to get something that works for all of us and allows us to plan ahead."
Peel Ports Great Yarmouth port director Richard Goffin said: "This agreement enhances Great Yarmouth's position as the East of England's most successful offshore energy hub and will attract further investment in the existing world-class supply chain, bringing a host of employment and economic growth opportunities to the region."
Great Yarmouth is already the construction base for ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia One project.
Combined, the Vanguard and Boreas wind farms will comprise between 200 and 250 wind turbines and will generate 3.6GW of energy, enough to meet the energy needs of 10% of UK households.