Vattenfall edging closer to agreement with Great Yarmouth port owner over operations base

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Pictu

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall - Credit: Archant

Council leaders in a Norfolk coast town have welcomed news that a deal which could bring significant investment to their town is edging towards completion.

Sheila Oxtoby

Sheila Oxtoby - Credit: Archant

Vattenfall, the company behind proposals to build two of the world's largest offshore windfarms off the Norfolk coast, approached Peel Ports last summer with plans to locate its operations base for the projects in Great Yarmouth.

Now, 10 months after signing a memorandum of understanding – meaning the two parties would continue in exclusive negotiations – the Swedish energy group says a final agreement is on the horizon.

Sheila Oxtoby, chief executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said the multi-billion pound Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas wind farms would cement jobs and growth in the local supply chain 'for years to come'.

'This fantastic announcement from Vattenfall and Peel Ports reflects huge confidence in Great Yarmouth's strengths as England's established offshore energy capital: our outer harbour, extensive skilled supply chain, and our ideal location,' she said.

Great Yarmouth is already basking in the glow of £39bn of regional energy industry investment over the next 20 years.

Statoil is servicing the Dudgeon offshore wind farm from its UK Wind Energy Centre on the river port, and the outer harbour is serving as the assembly and installation port for two more offshore developments, East Anglia One and Galloper.

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Vattenfall claims the construction work alone for Vanguard and Boreas could secure up to 400 local jobs while as many as 150 skilled technicians could be employed locally for the duration of its residence – a minimum of 25 years – if both wind farms get the green light.

Ruari Lean, Vattenfall's project manager for Norfolk Vanguard, said the significant investment the wind farms represent could also encourage energy supply chain firms to cluster around the East Anglia coast.

'We are making substantial progress with Peel Ports on an agreement to locate our operations base at the Great Yarmouth facility,' he said.

'We want to work with other economic interests like EEEGR and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce to capture that benefit for the area and establish Norfolk as a world leading hub for offshore wind power.'