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East Anglia: Reassurance over future of Galloper wind farm project following withdrawal of SSE

PUBLISHED: 10:17 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:15 04 April 2014

The offshore wind seminar held hosted by OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft.

The offshore wind seminar held hosted by OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft.

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Concerns over the future of the Galloper wind farm project off the Suffolk coast have been eased with an assurance that it is “business as usual” following the withdrawal of one of its backers.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced last week that it would not continue its interest in the 140-turbine scheme beyond the current phase of development, leaving joint venture partner RWE Innogy UK to find new investment.

However, delegates at an offshore wind seminar in Lowestoft have now been told that RWE is continuing with work to progress the project and is confident of finding a new partner.

Graham Moates, package manager for Galloper Wind Farm, said: “RWE remain committed to the project and we are pressing on with procurement and negotiations. It’s business as usual.”

In January, Galloper signed an agreement with Associated British Ports (ABP) to locate its operations and maintenance base on the old fish market site at Lowestoft port.

The site lies alongside the base for the existing Greater Gabbard wind farm, which will itself be a close neighbour of the Galloper turbines, construction work on which is due to start 17 miles off the Suffolk coast in 2016.

Although Galloper has not specified the number of jobs involved with the project, a spokesman said in January: “The local area will no doubt benefit from the multi-million pound conversion and the long-term skilled engineering jobs available at the port to staff the base.”

The seminar, hosted by OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft, also heard that two international windfarm developers have committed themselves to major developments off the Norfolk coast.

DONG Energy is progressing plans for the Race Bank windfarm 17 miles north of Blakeney while Statoil, and partner Statkraft, is pressing ahead with the Dudgeon windfarm off Cromer, which is expected to have its operations and maintenance base at Great Yarmouth.

More than 150 energy specialists attended the event which was hosted by OrbisEnergy on behalf of Renewable UK and GROW:Offshore Wind, and supported by EEEGR.

Johnathan Reynolds, business development lead at OrbisEnergy, said that nearly three-quarters of the UK’s windpower capacity would soon be off the coasts of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.

“Right now we have more offshore wind generation off the region’s coast than anywhere in the world, and with it some significant opportunities for local businesses. That’s only going to increase with the developments of Dudgeon, Race Bank and Galloper,” he said.

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