A hub for offshore renewables
JOHNATHAN REYNOLDS, business development, OrbisEnergy in Lowestoft, gives his view of the region’s importance to the offshore wind industry
EAST Anglia is at the heart of the UK’s offshore wind industry, with the supply chain, skills base and infrastructure ready for action.
It’s well known that the offshore wind industry is a critical source of future energy supply for the UK and is a sector of the economy which has still to fully mature. The East Anglian region is at the centre of the world’s largest market for offshore wind deployment and the UK’s most dense area of offshore wind energy development between the Humber, Greater Wash and Thames Estuary, with a market value in excess of �200bn.
Of the 15GW of offshore wind power consented within the UK, more than 50% have secured grid connection offers on the East of England coastline. This puts the region at the heart of the UK’s offshore wind industry, with the Southern North Sea emerging as the international proving ground for large-scale offshore renewables.
OrbisEnergy, strategically located at Britain’s most easterly point, is the leading location for innovative businesses keen to capture the economic benefits from offshore opportunities. It was designed using cutting-edge environmental technologies, and the five storey building features state-of-the-art offices, conference and exhibition facilities.
The offshore renewables hub is already home to more than 50 businesses in the offshore renewables industry, with anchor tenants including SSE Renewables, developing the Greater Gabbard, Gaolloper and Dogger Bank wind farms; and East Anglian Offshore Wind Ltd, with its joint venture partners Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall.
OrbisEnergy is the flagship facility in an area of Lowestoft, Suffolk that is being developed as an offshore technology park. Once fully developed, the 15-hectare site will play home to a significant proportion of the supply chain for offshore technologies such as offshore wind, allowing for manufacturing and fabrication, business incubation and skills training.
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During a recent visit to OrbisEnergy, Charles Hendry the Energy Minister said: “East Anglia is one of the most exciting places in the country for energy and is doing some of the most important, inspiring work in renewables.
“What is especially exciting is that OrbisEnergy brings together people with ideas and enthusiasm and helps them get established. This is exactly the sort of groundbreaking work we need, bringing all the links in the chain together.”
In addition to East Anglia’s growing reputation as a leader in offshore renewables, the area is also home to a significant business network active in the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry. For more than 50 years, new technologies and innovative ways of working offshore have been developed on the East Coast. Transferring knowledge from the oil and gas and other offshore engineering sectors is rapidly becoming a key driver in the race to reduce costs of offshore renewable technologies.