Eye-watering £59bn set to be invested in East Anglia’s offshore wind sector

The first turbine installed as part of the Galloper wind farm project Picture: INNOGY RENEWABLES

The first turbine installed as part of the Galloper wind farm project Picture: INNOGY RENEWABLES - Credit: Archant

By 2040, vast sums will have been invested in wind farms in the North Sea around East Anglia, energy experts predict.

A line of 6.3MW turbines at Galloper offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast east of Felixstowe Pi

A line of 6.3MW turbines at Galloper offshore wind farm off the Suffolk coast east of Felixstowe Picture: ALAN O'NEILL - Credit: Archant

Speaking at an energy seminar organised by Tendring District Council, senior figures from the sector told delegates that there were "big" opportunities for business from the fast-growing sector.

Over the next 21 years, £59.4bn worth of capital investment will be poured into the offshore energy in the eastern region, and by 2025, £1.3bn a year will be invested in offshore wind.

MORE - East Anglia's coast 'will be home to Labour's new generation of state-owned wind farms'

By 2030, offshore wind will provide 35% of the UK's energy as it moves towards a low carbon future.

From left, Sean Chenery, Chris Squires, Ewan Green (corporate director, Tendring District Council),

From left, Sean Chenery, Chris Squires, Ewan Green (corporate director, Tendring District Council), Simon Gray, Jonathan Reynolds, and Peter Gudde Picture: ROBERT WONG PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

The growing offshore wind sector presents "a great opportunity" for the port of Harwich and for Essex as a whole, energy experts at the event predicted, with Harwich one of the ports which is ideally placed to capitalise on it.

Work is already well under way on Galloper Wind Farm's £10m operations and maintenance facility at the port of Harwich, which is due to open in December, but speakers at the seminar - chaired by offshore sector body the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) chief executive Simon Gray - identified even greater opportunities to come.

Jonathan Reynolds, of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth-based Opergy, said: "Offshore wind is one of the biggest economic opportunities for Essex in terms of creating jobs - in engineering, supply chains and elsewhere.

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"There is significant potential when it comes to building turbines, something not really done in the UK at the moment, and I have had discussions in China where they understand the opportunities in the UK, East Anglia, and Essex."

Delegates at the energy seminar organised by Tendring District Council Picture: ROBERT WONG PHOTOGR

Delegates at the energy seminar organised by Tendring District Council Picture: ROBERT WONG PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Sean Chenery, Galloper Wind Farm's operations and maintenance centre manager, said there was "a great opportunity" for Harwich and Tendring - if it can build a supply chain around the industry.

"The Crown Estate has very recently launched the next round of auctions for offshore wind sites, and two of those areas can be accessed from Harwich," he said.

Other speakers at the event included Chris Squires from EDF, who highlighted how local businesses in Somerset had worked together to benefit from the new Hinckley Point C nuclear power plant and the opportunities presented by new nuclear projects at Sizewell C and Bradwell B.

The Galloper Wind Farm currently has 56 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 353 megawatts (MW), generating enough energy each year to power up to 380,700 average UK households.