Lowestoft enters renewable energy future

Work on Galloper wind farm. launch at Port of Lowestoft on may 12, 2016. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER

Work on Galloper wind farm. launch at Port of Lowestoft on may 12, 2016. Picture: STEPHEN WALLER - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

It is a town that has in the past relied on the fishing and oil and gas industries.

But this week Lowestoft headed into what community and business leaders called its 'renewable energy era' as a work on a major new wind-farm project began in the town.

As Sembmarine SLP's prominent offshore 'jacket' project came to an end, with the structure sailing away to be part of the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, work on the Galloper Wind Farm project began in the town's port

Galloper workers and their contractors will start moving into the former Shell base within the port over the next few weeks, with 40 personnel due to work at what will be the construction base for the wind farm 27km off the Suffolk coast.

That, industry leaders say, could mean that Lowestoft does not only power homes across the country but also drives its own economy, bringing jobs and prosperity to the wider area.

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Paul Brooks, Lowestoft port manager for Associated British Ports (ABP), said: 'The opportunity is that these wind farms have a long life – but we have got to get in early.

'However, we have a whole package of companies here – like Sembmarine SLP – which can come together and provide the services for Galloper. We are in a renewable energy era. It will be about matching national demand by using Lowestoft as a centre of excellence.'

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Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), said: 'We hope the next couple of years should be a perfect storm of offshore wind, oil and gas and Sizewell, which means Yarmouth and Lowestoft should be hopefully getting a boost they haven't seen for many years.

'It is great news for jobs for the town because it has that trickle down effect through the supply chain.'

Toby Edmonds, project director for the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, said he had been impressed with how the community had embraced the project and said the town could reap huge economic benefits.

'We know we're going to be able to get everything we need right on our doorstep,' he added.

What impact do you think the renewable energy industry will have on Lowestoft? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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