Suffolk Coast: Application submitted for giant East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm
A PROPOSED giant wind farm off the Suffolk coast could generate �500m for the local economy, it has been revealed.
East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW), a 50-50 joint venture between Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables, has today formally submitted a planning application for a 1,200MW offshore windfarm, stretching from Lowestoft to Orford - with power coming onshore at Bawdsey. .
Bosses say construction could begin in 2016 - with the first power exported in 2018.
The development, known as East Anglia ONE, will require up to 325 wind turbines and covers an area of 300km2 in the southern North Sea.
The project will be able to power the annual electricity demands of around 770,000 homes.
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It is anticipated that the development, the first of six potential projects in the East Anglia Zone, could support up to 2,700 jobs across the UK during the construction phase, representing more than �170m for the UK economy for each year of construction.
More than 1,600 construction jobs could be supported in the East Anglia region alone, adding over �100m to the regional economy annually during construction.
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The planning application will be considered by the National Infrastructure Directorate.
If approved, it is anticipated that onshore construction could begin in 2016, with offshore work starting in 2017 and first power generation achieved in 2018.
Andy Paine, EAOW programme director, said: 'This is the largest renewable energy project that either Vattenfall or ScottishPower Renewables are developing anywhere in the world.
'We are delighted to have achieved this major milestone today, following three years of detailed planning and community consultation.
'East Anglia ONE is a major project that could make a significant contribution to the UK's carbon reduction targets, and is larger than any offshore windfarm currently in operation.
'Developments like this not only make a substantial contribution to the environment, they also have a significant positive impact on both the local and national economy.
'Thousands of skilled jobs will be required to construct and manage a project on this scale, which highlights the importance of the offshore wind sector for the UK economy following the recession.
'Offshore wind will support a new supply chain that will attract billions of pounds of investment and create highly- skilled employment in the engineering and construction sectors for decades.
'Our application will now be considered by the National Infrastructure Directorate, but work on the project will continue and 2013 will be a major year for the scheme. We will start the process of meeting and talking to companies across the East Anglia region and beyond who have the skills and services to support the project.'
Once completed, ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall expect that up to 170 engineers and technicians will be required to provide operations and maintenance support for the project. These jobs will be required for more than 20 years and will add over �10m to the local economy on an annual basis, the companies claim.
In total, for the three years of construction and 20-plus years of operation for East Anglia ONE the region's economy could be boosted by �500m and see nearly 1,800 jobs supported or secured.
During the planning process alone, just under �7m of contracts have been awarded to local companies working on the project and a �17m contract was awarded to Wood Group of Aberdeen for the construction and installation of weather monitoring masts.
The UK Government - through The Crown Estate - is supporting the development of up to 32GW of offshore wind generation in British waters.
Within this, East Anglia Offshore Wind is one of the largest and most ambitious renewable energy projects in the world.
In total, the six projects within the zone could generate up to 7.2GW of electricity and power the annual demands of more than 4.6 million homes.
People now have an opportunity to register to have a say on the plans.
Visit www.planningportal.gov.uk/infrastructure or call 0303 444 5000 for information.