Vattenfall, the Swedish energy group, and Peel Ports, the infrastructure specialists, have agreed to reserve space at a Great Yarmouth harbour to site an operations base for two major offshore wind farms.
Economic leaders described the move as a big confidence booster to Norfolk’s offshore wind supply chain, and hoped that Vattenfall’s investment, due in the early 20’s, will be a magnet to other inward investors.
The operations base will serve Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects. The low carbon energy developer has signed an agreement with Peel Ports that enables them to build a new operations base at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, if its applications for the wind farms are given the go-ahead by the Energy Secretary next year and in 2020. The base will be operational for at least 25-years.
The total combined installed capacity of both proposals is 3.6GW, capable of meeting the electricity needs of 10% of UK households every year.
Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Norfolk Vanguard said: “It’s great to seal this deal with Peel Ports to reserve space for Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms. Good for us of course, because we will have the ideal home for up to 150 skilled wind technicians looking after two wind farms which will be amongst the largest ever built. And good for Norfolk too, if built, as this major investment will send a strong signal to other businesses to consider investing in the County.”
Richard Goffin, Port Director Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, said: “Vattenfall’s commitment to reserve space for their operations base at Great Yarmouth is testament to the Port’s influential position in the wider offshore energy arena, which is complemented by a supportive County and Borough Council. This agreement enhances Great Yarmouth’s position as the East of England’s most successful offshore energy hub and will attract further investment in the existing world-class supply chain, bringing a host of employment and economic growth opportunities to the region.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “This will be a great boost for our existing clean energy sector which is already leading the way in the UK. It will also help deliver the ambitions for clean growth as set out in the country’s Industrial Strategy. One of our key aims is to create jobs with a focus on skilled opportunities in this fast-growing sector so we welcome seeing these being delivered here. The investment will also contribute in supercharging Great Yarmouth’s potential as a priority place for business growth.”
Cllr Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Great Yarmouth and Norfolk. It really demonstrates Vattenfall’s dedication to the town and goes to show just how important the area is to the renewable energy sector. This level of commitment will only help to attract even more investment to the east coast and provide huge economic benefits to existing local companies.”
Cllr Graham Plant and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, political group leaders at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “These will be among the largest offshore wind farms ever built, representing multi-billion-pound investments, and Great Yarmouth will really benefit, with the base creating up to 150 skilled jobs for at least 25 years, plus supporting our extensive, skilled supply chain. We’ve been working closely with Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, with excellent support from the county council, New Anglia LEP and others, to maximise the exciting opportunities for Great Yarmouth across the energy sector, and Vattenfall’s commitment reflects huge confidence in Great Yarmouth’s strengths as the main service base for the Southern North Sea and a burgeoning offshore wind hub.”
This summer, Vattenfall submitted final proposals to the Planning Inspectorate for its Norfolk Vanguard project. Its sister project Norfolk Boreas, will start its statutory consultation later this autumn.