The construction of one of the world's largest windfarms off the Norfolk coast is expected to create hundreds of skilled, permanent jobs in the region.

Vattenfall, the Swedish-based company behind the Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm, has said that it wants to recruit workers living within a one hour drive from Happisburgh to operate and maintain the wind turbines.

The site, which is set to start being built during autumn next year, is just the first in a series of projects that will make up the Norfolk Zone.

The zone is a series of windfarms off the Norfolk coat that will generate electricity for more than 4m homes when fully operational.

Eastern Daily Press: Vattenfall is set to construct one of the world's largest windfarms off the Norfolk coastVattenfall is set to construct one of the world's largest windfarms off the Norfolk coast (Image: Archant)

Dr Catrin Jones, head of stakeholder engagement offshore wind at Vattenfall, said: "Working with local businesses and communities is an essential part of delivering the Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone.

"Alongside Vattenfall’s drive to deliver our ambitious supply chain and skills and employment plans, our contractors and ourselves will be engaging with local businesses, seeking their support in delivering the Norfolk Offshore Wind Zone."

Vattenfall's existing windfarm off the coast of Kent - which is smaller than the site due to be constructed 50 miles offshore from Happisburgh - has about 50 full-time core staff.

Vattenfall has also pledged to work with local schools and colleges to encourage young people to establish careers in the renewable energy industry.

Dr Jones added: "We’re also working with local colleges to find young people who are keen and available to work in the sector, as well as working with people who want to transition out of other sectors, such as people retiring from the armed forces, or people wanting to move out of the oil and gas sector."

East Anglia has already attracted a number of firms looking to invest in the industry.

Along with the Vattenfall Norfolk Zone project, ScottishPower Renewables is building its own windfarm - East Anglia THREE off the Suffolk coast.

"The renewable energy sector is a fast-growing, innovative and exciting industry that also has a breadth of opportunities and many diverse career paths to choose from," Dr Jones said.

"In offshore wind alone, the UK is looking to support 27,000 direct jobs by 2030 with a massive boost for jobs in supply chain as well as others supporting the sector."

How windfarms will help businesses in the region

Eastern Daily Press: Andrew Harston from Associated British PortsAndrew Harston from Associated British Ports (Image: Associated British Ports)

Along with creating jobs on the windfarms, projects such as Vattenfall’s Norfolk Zone will also benefit businesses in the region.

The Port of Lowestoft, for example, is developing millions of pounds into developing a Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF) to be able to support the growing renewable energy sector.

Andrew Harston, director at Associated British Ports, said: “This will cost between £25m and £30m and will be a key facilities, including logistics, office storage and fuelling storage to support offshore wind.

“Construction will start later this year and it will be operational in 2024.”

He added that it is expected that the new facility will create hundreds of jobs in Lowestoft and the surrounding areas.