Commissioner hails town's regeneration
A SEAFRONT development in Lowestoft has been hailed as tangible proof the region is pioneering the development of the renewable energy industry. The state-of-the-art Orbis energy centre is on course to open at the town's Ness Point in the summer and yesterday industry leaders and politicians gathered at the building for a topping out ceremony.
A SEAFRONT development in Lowestoft has been hailed as tangible proof the region is pioneering the development of the renewable energy industry.
The state-of-the-art Orbis energy centre is on course to open at the town's Ness Point in the summer and yesterday industry leaders and politicians gathered at the building for a topping out ceremony.
About 40 small to medium sized companies involved in offshore energy will move into the building, creating in the region of 150 jobs, and firmly planting Lowestoft at the centre of the renewable industry sector.
Guest of honour was Danuta Hübner, the European Union's Commissioner for Regional Policy, who was also in the town to launch an £80m European grant to boost the low carbon economy in East Anglia.
Ms Hübner said: “The Orbis centre is a beautiful place and I am convinced this building will stimulate the development of the offshore industry for Lowestoft and the region.
“It is important you take the lessons you have learned and share them with others.”
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Speaking about the £80m boost to help businesses cut emissions and boost economic growth, she added: “I'm sure the programme will create jobs and growth in the region and will leave a lasting legacy for the east of England.”
The funding for the £9m Orbis - Offshore Renewable Business Centre - was confirmed a year ago and will also help the regenerate the Ness point area of Lowestoft.
The project has been backed by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), the Government Office for the East of England, Suffolk County and Waveney District Councils, Renewables East and the EU.
Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said: “This is a landmark building for the east and shows we are determined to continue being a major force in the energy sector.
“It's an important element in the regeneration of Lowestoft and is about building community confidence. I believe the future for Lowestoft is very exciting.
“This region already produces 9pc of its electricity through renewable sources and we are on target to make it 14pc by 2010. We are a serious player in this area.”
Local politicians also lined up to stress the importance of the renewable energy sector to Lowestoft and the wider region.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: “Lowestoft is right in the middle of all of this. I think we can really achieve our aim of being the wind energy capital of the country. This is an important step forward.
“There is going to be massive investment in wind farms and this is the best area in the UK for them.”
Wendy Mawer, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “This is the most exciting day we have had in Lowestoft and Waveney for a long time.”
In relation to the carbon emissions grant, MEP Richard Howitt added: “The money is going to give us a huge boost in cementing Lowestoft, our whole region and Britain as the key leader for renewable energy in Europe.”