Great Yarmouth is an offshore wind hub ‘thanks to Outer Harbour upgrade’

Formal groundbreaking ceremony using a six handle shovel at the Outer Harbour in Great Yarmouth. Con

Formal groundbreaking ceremony using a six handle shovel at the Outer Harbour in Great Yarmouth. Construction at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth has begun to enhance port infrastructure, as part of works for the offshore Galloper and East Anglia One wind farms. - Credit: © James Bass 2016

Great Yarmouth has established itself as the 'port of choice' for offshore wind construction in East Anglia, industry leaders were told at a groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of work on a multi-million-pound upgrade.

The port will be the base for construction of the £1.5bn Galloper and £2.5bn East Anglia One wind farms, with further projects on the horizon that could keep the port busy for a decade.

Representatives from developers joined Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis and port director Richard Goffin to formally mark the start of the £7m works, which includes the building of a yard storage and marshalling area, and the installation of heavy-lift quay facilities.

Mr Lewis said: 'This multi- million-pound investment in Great Yarmouth further strengthens the town's position as a leading port for the offshore energy industry and brings jobs and growth to our local area.'

Jonathan Cole, offshore managing director at ScottishPower Renewables, which is behind the East Anglia One project, said the facilities of the outer harbour had been key to attracting developers.

But he acknowledged the £80m project, which received an £18m kick-start from taxpayers in 2007, had 'not been without controversy'.

'Without that investment in the Outer Harbour all those years ago, it's hard to see how we would be standing here talking about Great Yarmouth being the port of choice for offshore wind installation,' he said.

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Graham Plant, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: 'This is the culmination of 10 years of work to make Great Yarmouth renewables-friendly.

'Having its Outer Harbour built when it was has made Great Yarmouth the centre of opportunities for these renewables players.'

Richard Sandford is the head of investment and asset management offshore wind at Innogy SE, which is building the Galloper project.

He said: 'This fantastic Peel Ports Great Yarmouth facility will be the arrival hub for key components of the Galloper wind farm such as nacelles [casings], blades, towers and electrical modules, and the base for the tower pre-assembly and nacelle preparation.'

Ray Thompson of Siemens, which will supply the turbines for both projects, said the upgrades would 'help cement Britain's east coast as the centre of a fledgling but world-class renewables industry'.