Suffolk: Jobs blow as Galloper wind farm project is shelved
PUBLISHED: 12:27 23 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:41 23 October 2014
Major disappointment has been voiced after it was revealed the Galloper offshore wind farm – expected to be worth £20million to Suffolk’s economy and create 850 jobs – has been shelved.
The blow puts a huge question mark over the project and whether any other company will take the financial risk at a time when nuclear power – such as Sizewell C – is back on the agenda.
Renewable energy company RWE said tight timescales to secure finance and accreditation had meant it would not be possible to build the 340MW project 17 miles off the county’s coast.
The 68-turbine scheme, set to generate power for 330,000 households each year, was to be an extension of the Greater Gabbard wind farm, part of the multi-billion pound investment in green energy off East Anglia.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous said while RWE’s decision was disappointing, he believed it was a postponement rather than the end of the project, and the company may be able to sell on its rights to the development.
He said: “It is disappointing and unfortunate and to be regretted, but probably not unexpected.
“I don’t think it’s the end of the world because we have still got a very good scheme that someone else could take on.
“The North Sea is the best place to be constructing offshore wind farms on a large scale but this scheme unfortunately didn’t fit in with RWE’s immediate investment outlook.”
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “It is disappointing that RWE have decided not to invest in Greater Galloper offshore wind farm.
“I am hopeful that another operator will come forward and take advantage of the arrangements that are already in place and I’m confident that this will be a delay rather than a cancellation to the project.
“Our green coast has already brought many jobs and investment into Suffolk and I hope there will be new investors to deliver Greater Galloper soon.”
John Dugmore, chief executive officer of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Today’s announcement is frustrating especially as the plans for Galloper included new jobs in our region.
“Strategic projects such as these are complex. While there will be disappointment at this news, it is important that we look forward and ensure that any momentum and progress made to date is continued into the next opportunity to secure similar projects and the benefits they bring to Suffolk and the East of England.”
RWE said: “Despite positive investor interest, including that of the Green Investment Bank, and support from the project’s supply chain partners we are disappointed to announce the decision not to continue with the development of Galloper in its current form.
“This decision reflects the tight time scales available to secure financing whilst still achieving accreditation under the Renewable Obligation, which overall results in an unacceptable balance of risk and reward as compared with the investment disciplines embraced by the RWE Group.
“Following this decision, we will discuss the next steps for the Galloper project with our existing partner SSE.”
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced in March that it would not continue its interest in the Galloper wind farm beyond the current phase of development.
Agreement had been reached to build the Galloper operations and maintenance base at Lowestoft port, creating long-term skilled engineering jobs and increasing security for the businesses that already support the Greater Gabbard wind farm operations base on the same site.