Chinese wind farm manufacturers look to invest in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft
Energy companies from across the region have hosted a delegation of Chinese wind farm industry experts amid hopes of attracting millions of pounds of investment to the region.
Multi-million pound investors from the Chinese province of Jiangsu - a focus point for the Chinese offshore wind energy industry - visited Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft to look at investing in the production of offshore wind farm equipment along the coast.
The visit is part of a joint push by Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county councils to work with China to create new export and inward investment opportunities, leading to local job creation.
The delegation visited OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft and East Port in Great Yarmouth on Thursday and held meetings with local energy production and supply companies.
Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council Cabinet member for economic development, said: 'The visit from the Chinese delegation provides us with a fantastic chance to showcase the huge opportunities for investment in the energy related sector in this area, whilst also highlighting the potential for export from the sizeable skills base of companies that we possess in this region.'
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With more than 40 years experience in offshore energy production, the region has the second largest concentration of offshore wind farms in the world - making it an attractive prospect for inward investors.
By 2020, offshore wind in the East of England is predicted to be worth �23bn with the potential of creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
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Suffolk is already benefiting from investment from China. The Port of Felixstowe is owned by Chinese-owned company Hutchison Whampoa Ltd and the company recently invested �300m to expand the quayside at Felixstowe.
Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder for the Greenest County, Economy and Skills, said: 'This visit is about promoting the many benefits that Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have to offer - both in terms of inward investment in offshore wind power but also exporting the wonderful products we produce. We're a world-leading area in terms of offshore wind power so it makes absolute sense to work with partners in China to build on that and, ultimately, create more local jobs.'
James Gray, Inward Investment Director for the Norfolk and Suffolk Energy Alliance, said: 'I am delighted to welcome the delegation to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. This is a great opportunity for two large Chinese companies to meet local companies, to see sites on the new Enterprise Zone and to see for themselves the unique advantages we can offer with over 45 years of supporting the offshore energy industry.'
Huang Huixia, the leader of the Chinese delegation, said: 'We're here to promote the offshore wind industry in Nantong, China. Our wind tower and offshore cable companies are interested in finding opportunities to invest and trade with businesses developing the wind farms in the East Anglia area.'