By Richard Goffin, Port Director at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth
Offshore wind is a British success story on a grand scale, thanks to UK-led innovation, and the combined efforts of industry and government.
The launch of this month’s new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal will help further position the UK as a global leader in clean growth, with a third of British electricity to be produced by offshore wind power by 2030.
Under the Sector Deal the industry plans to invest £250 million to develop the country’s supply chain, ensuring we can deliver an expected fivefold increase in global exports to £2.6 billion by 2030.
At the epicentre of this visionary industrial strategy is the East of England, which provides the perfect mix of physical and locational characteristics such as shallow waters, consistent wind speeds and proximity to key UK and European port locations, creating a favourable environment for offshore wind production.
One such port location is our very own Great Yarmouth, which has fast established itself as one of the UK’s leading offshore energy port, with more than 50-years of experience supporting the sector.
Since taking ownership of Great Yarmouth in 2015, we have made a series of significant infrastructure investments which have enabled exponential growth and opportunities for the offshore renewable, oil and gas and decommissioning sectors.
Our current £12 million investment has included outer harbour upgrades to create a supply base for offshore wind farms, and investment in new cranes in-river and in the outer harbour, which has increased our operational efficiency and capacity for unitised, non-unitised and bulk cargoes for all commodities, including offshore.
Now, as part of the East of England’s role in the new sector deal, further investment in our port infrastructure is key in supporting offshore wind farm development through preassembly, construction, installation and operations and management (O&M).
We are planning further significant expansion at the outer harbour to create a centre of excellence for O&M, including 350m of extra berthing space and about 100,000 sq m of additional land. These facilities will include an extended quayside space with deep-water access, training facilities and sufficient land to accommodate manufacturing facilities linked to the offshore energy sector.
Today, nearly 4GW of offshore wind power is operational off the East of England, accounting for 52% of the UK’s current 7.5GW installed capacity.
With our involvement and other businesses across the region, the cumulative capacity in operations and development off the East of England is 14.5GW, enough to meet approximately half of the Sector Deal ambition for 2030.
Offshore wind will play a crucial role as the energy sector continues to shift its focus towards low-carbon power. With our current and future plans for investment at Great Yarmouth, we hope to drive the region’s position as a leading centre for the UK’s clean energy sector in an opportunity that is worth £59.4bn by 2040.
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