Offshore wind is set to transform the skyline and the economy of the East Anglian Coast over the next decade.
Several multi-billion pound projects are already in the pipeline and, if approved, they would not only supply enough green energy for hundreds of thousands of homes, but would blow in untold economic benefits for the local region.
With its location on the Norfolk coast, Peel Port Great Yarmouth is in an excellent position to support these developments and, by working with local energy firms we can help attract more developers behind projects in the Southern North Sea to the area.
We are already working with ScottishPower Renewables, which is behind four offshore projects in the region, including its £2.5billion East Anglia ONE Wind Farm, which will create enough energy to meet the annual power demands of 500,000 homes. As well as supporting construction and installation activities for the 102 turbine project, Great Yarmouth has also been selected as port of choice to facilitate works on the 56 turbine Galloper Wind Farm.
In order to facilitate these projects, we are undertaking a £7million port upgrade to support the construction of primary infrastructure and groundworks. This includes the delivery of a yard storage and marshalling area, as well as the installation of heavy lift quay facilities.
Construction work is already under way and we welcomed senior delegates from ScottishPower Renewables, Siemens and innogy SE, along with local MP Brandon Lewis to the port to officially break the ground. We even sourced a six handled shovel to ensure everyone got stuck in and had a chance to put their mark on the project.
Between them, Galloper and East Anglia ONE have the potential to create more than 3,790 jobs during their construction and operation, many of which could be made available to people within the local region.
The decision to locate construction and installation works at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth will provide a further boost to these investment and jobs figures. It will also consolidate our position as a leading offshore energy port facility in the UK, attracting other wind farm developers or component manufacturers to establish a base here.
If energy firms in Norfolk and Suffolk work together, we could secure contracts for new off shore wind projects not just off the East Anglian coast, but the north east of England and even as far afield as Germany, Holland and Belgium.
There are some quite large projects off the west coast of continental Europe and with our range of facilities and being the closest point on the east coast to these; there is no reason why we couldn’t take them on. Winning those contracts wold boost the local supply chain, benefitting construction, service and hospitality firms.
I firmly believe that investing in infrastructure, land development and skills in order to train the next generation of workers in the industry, is essential for the future of offshore wind here in East Anglia - without it we will lose out to other ports outside of the UK.
Our latest investment in quayside facilities in Great Yarmouth is just the beginning for renewable energy opportunities in the region. With more investments like it, the east coast of the UK is certainly more than capable of becoming a European centre of excellence for offshore wind.
By Richard Goffin, Port Director Peel Ports Great Yarmouth
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