East Anglia: Wind farm firms’ �7m windfall

THE companies behind a major wind farm scheme planned off East Anglia’s coast have already invested �6.65million in the region through local contracts, they have revealed.

Joint venture ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) and Vattenfall, the developers of East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW), said that over the last two years, as part of plans to build one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world, it estimates it has helped support almost 170 jobs across East Anglia through its investments.

EAOW has already placed a number of contracts with companies in the region. These include Gardline marine services, marine researcher Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), fisheries consultants Brown and May, online consultation experts Consense, consultants Eastern Edge and land agents Freedom Group who are all working on East Anglia ONE, the first phase of the East Anglia Zone.

The developers say that as the development of future wind farms within the zone continues there will be further opportunities for businesses in the region to benefit from these types of contracts.

Development rights for the East Anglia Zone were awarded to SPR and Vattenfall by the Crown Estate in December 2009 and plans are already under way for wind farms that could power the equivalent of over five million homes.

EAOW programme director Andy Paine said that where possible, they were trying to use local contractors to ensure the region benefits as much as possible from jobs and investment as a result of the scheme.

“With the help and support of local contractors, East Anglia Offshore Wind is making strong progress and we are on schedule to lodge our first application for consent this year,” he said.

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“We anticipate there will be further opportunities for businesses in the region as the East Anglia ONE windfarm progresses through its consenting, construction and operational phases.”

Lowestoft-based Cefas has been working closely with wind and wave specialists on the wind farm team to gather crucial wave data for the development.

Cefas’s Dr Si�n Limpenny said: “We’re advising offshore renewable project developers around the UK and internationally, and this one is particularly special as it is on our doorstep.”

“It’s exciting to see the project coming to life and the scale of the long-term opportunities that may come from this – not just for us, but for the local community as a whole.”

The wave data is collected through deploying marine buoys which float on the sea surface to measure wave swells, speed and direction.

In addition, Cefas deploys seabed landers to measure current speeds and suspended sediments, which are crucial to the engineering design of the turbines’ structure. This information is essential to East Anglia Offshore Wind choosing the right vessels to assist with the construction of the windfarm and in understanding the types of conditions the windfarm will be exposed to post-construction.