Lowestoft to get thousands of new jobs through huge offshore windfarm

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- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2006

Lowestoft is to benefit from thousands of new jobs and millions of pounds of economic investment after it was confirmed the town would be the long-term operational base for the East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm.

ScottishPower Renewables said it had agreed with Associated British Ports (ABP) to use the port of Lowestoft as its construction management base when building starts in 2017.

But even more crucially, the firm has agreed to spend about £25 million upgrading the port and surrounding harbour so it can be the main operations and maintenance hub for the 30-year lifetime of the project.

Community leaders rejoiced at the news, which will guarantee highly-skilled jobs for a generation of the town's young people and add between £80m and £100m to area's economy between now and 2050.

But Jonathan Cole, managing director of offshore wind for ScottishPower Renewables, said East Anglia ONE is just one of a series of projects designed to create the world's biggest offshore windfarm off the east coast.

'These projects are so big, the benefit will be spread around,' he said.

'Today we are announcing something positive for Lowestoft but the plan is for other areas of East Anglia to also benefit.'

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At yesterday Offshore Wind Works conference at Lowestoft's OrbisEnergy Centre – where the announcement was made – Mr Cole said a state-of-the-art purpose-built, office warehouse complex would be created.

The thousands of jobs created during the construction phase are likely to be in engineering and offshore management, with the hundreds of longer-term maintenance jobs likely to be as technicians, engineers and operational controllers.

It plans to start recruiting for those roles over the next couple of years, with the focus being on providing jobs for local people but also attracting people from further afield to work in this region.

However as well as jobs directly created by East Anglia ONE, it is expected the project will have a knock-on effect to nearby businesses who could supply services and materials to help with the development.

Mr Cole added: 'This is a long-term asset that is going to be part of this local community for decades. It is important the community contributes to that as much as possible.'

Andrew Harston, shortsea ports director for ABP, said the project would 'make a valuable contribution to the prosperity of the town and its hinterland'.

Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia ONE, added: 'This is a project of national significance with a very strong focus on local areas.'

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