Thousands of jobs could come to Great Yarmouth thanks to £2.5bn offshore windfarm deal for port

Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia One

Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia One - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth has been handed a multi-million pound boost with the announcement it is to be the construction port for a £2.5bn offshore wind farm.

The confirmation today by ScottishPower Renewables will create jobs and bring welcome security to the supply chain at a time when the beleaguered offshore industry is under pressure from low oil and gas prices.

The company last week confirmed funding had been secured for the project, with Lowestoft selected as the operational and maintenance base after a £25m deal was signed last year.

The news comes as energy chiefs meet today to discuss the industry at the Norfolk Showground for the East of England Energy Group's annual conference.

Peel Ports Great Yarmouth has joined forces with Scottishpower to co-invest £5m, ready for the harbour to begin supporting construction work in 2018.

New port director Richard Goffin said it would boost the number of large vessels using the outer harbour.

'Rather than ad hoc arrivals, the number of vessels will be will be more consistent,' he said. 'Hopefully it will be great for local businesses as well. The co-investment in the Port of Great Yarmouth further consolidates our position as a leading offshore energy port facility in the UK while providing valuable jobs and economic benefits to the region.'

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'Lowestoft have got operations and maintenance and smaller vessels. It shows Great Yarmouth works for the larger vessels.'

East Anglia One will see 102 turbines installed in the Southern North Sea, about 26 miles off the coast and with enough electricity to power half a million homes.

It is due to be the first and smallest of four windfarms for the east coast over the coming decade, and is expected to lead to 3,000 jobs.

Jonathan Cole, managing director of offshore wind at ScottishPower Renewables, said: 'We are committed to delivering local investment, job creation and training opportunities as part of this project, so it is pleasing that two of our earliest decisions have gone in favour of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.'

Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with the first turbines installed in 2019, and operational in 2020.

•Do you have an energy story? Call business reporter Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879

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