Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk Coast: Businesses must start preparing now to take advantage of proposed giant windfarm development

10:03 18 December 2012

Ormonde offshore wind farm

Ormonde offshore wind farm

© Ben Barden Photography Ltd.

BUSINESS chiefs were last night urged to seize the opportunity and not miss out on a £500m energy bonanza from the construction of a giant windfarm off the Suffolk coast.

shares

Bosses at Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables yesterday submitted a planning application for the first phase of their joint East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW) project.

The development, known as East Anglia ONE, will require up to 325 wind turbines and cover an area of 300km2 in the North Sea - stretching from Lowestoft to Orford, with electricity likely to come onshore at Bawdsey.

It would generate 1,200MW of electricity - enough to power 770,000 homes.

Bosses claim that over the project’s entire lifespan it could boost the regional economy by £500m and provide nearly 1,800 jobs.

More than 1,600 construction jobs could be supported in the East Anglia region alone, adding more than £100m to the regional economy annually during the building phase, they say. Once completed bosses expect up to 170 engineers and technicians will be required to provide operations and maintenance support.

These jobs will be required for more than 20 years and will add over £10m to the local economy on an annual basis, the companies claim.

Nationally it is thought the development could provide 2,700 jobs across the UK during the construction phase, representing more than £170m for the UK economy for each year of building work.

The news has been welcomed as a vital shot in the arm to the regional economy but business chiefs have been warned that they must not rest on their laurels.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “It’s very positive news but we must make sure we seize the chance and ensure our local firms can meet the requirements. They [the business opportunities] won’t just fall into our lap. We will be competing against others from the UK and Europe who are just as capable of winning the contracts.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous added: “It’s tremendous news but we have to make sure that we are in a position to get the best out of it and people have the skills to take advantage of the jobs that will be available - not just in construction but in the operation and maintenance of the windfarm as well. Places like Lowestoft College and the enterprise zones in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are already doing a lot of work and we need to ensure that continues.”

He also stressed the importance of the Government’s Energy Bill, which gets its second reading in Parliament tomorrow, to establish a secure framework for investors.

“It will encourage companies to set up here so that we’re not just importing and assembling it - we want the manufacturing process to be based in East Anglia as well,” Mr Aldous said.

If given the go ahead East Anglia ONE could be the first of six potential projects off the East Anglian coast.

John Dugmore, the chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “This investment is a real vote of confidence in Suffolk, its people and its economy.

“Firms large and small in the county are working harder than ever. Not only are the jobs that will be created from this decision very welcome but the knock on effects, such as the supply chain opportunities, will make a real and lasting difference.

“As we head into 2013 the Chamber will continue its work with further education and higher education bodies to ensure the demand for skills are met and that investment such as these are just the first of many.”

His comments were echoed by Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic development, who said they had been working with offshore energy industries to ensure the right skills will be delivered. “We have also developed a supply chain strategy to help businesses understand the opportunities and prepare to capitalise on them,” she added.

Related articles

shares

0 comments

Alex Till of Menta.

Enterprise agency Menta has launched a new Digital Enterprise Engagement Programme (DEEP), offering newly formed local businesses and those who are self-employed access to free digital training courses.

Solar farm. Library image.

A proposed solar park in Wix has been tipped for approval by council planning officers.

The headquarters of Realise Futures in Ipswich.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a contract to provide supported employment services for adults with disabilities across a wide area of Essex.

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Cloud telecoms company X-on has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Cloud telecoms company X-on, based at the Framlingham Technology Centre, has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages