Jobs boost for Lowestoft following East Anglia One windfarm deal

Charlie Jordan, project manager for the East Anglia One windfarm.

Charlie Jordan, project manager for the East Anglia One windfarm. - Credit: Archant

Lowestoft is to benefit from thousands of new jobs and millions of pounds of economic investment following confirmation that the town will be the long-term operational base for the East Anglia One offshore windfarm.

ScottishPower Renewables said yesterday it had agreed with Associated British Ports (ABP) to use the port of Lowestoft as its construction management base when building starts in 2017.

But, even more crucially, the firm has agreed to spend about £25million upgrading the port and surrounding harbour so that it can be the main operations and maintenance hub for the 30-year lifetime of the project, so contributing between £80m and £100m to the area’s economy between now and 2050.

But Jonathan Cole, managing director of offshore wind for ScottishPower Renewables, said East Anglia One was just one of a series of projects designed to create the world’s biggest offshore windfarm off the east coast.

“These projects are so big, the benefit will be spread around,” he said. “Today we are announcing something positive for Lowestoft but the plan is for other areas of East Anglia to also benefit.”

Yesterday’s announcement was made at the Offshore Wind Works conference at Lowestoft’s OrbisEnergy Centre. The thousands of jobs created during the construction phase are likely to be in engineering and offshore management, with the hundreds of longer-term maintenance jobs likely to be as technicians, engineers and operational controllers.

ScottishPower Renewables plans to start recruiting for those roles over the next two years, with the focus being on providing jobs for local people but also attracting people from further afield to work in this region.

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However, as well as jobs directly created by East Anglia One, it is expected the project will have a knock-on effect on nearby businesses who could supply services and materials to help with the development.

Mr Cole added: “This is a long-term asset that is going to be part of this local community for decades. It is important the community contributes to that as much as possible.”

Andrew Harston, shortsea ports director for ABP, said the project would “make a valuable contribution to the prosperity of the town and its hinterland”.

Charlie Jordan, project director for East Anglia One, added: “This is a project of national significance with a very strong focus on local areas.”

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our all energy coastline is an international magnet for investment in offshore wind energy – reconfirmed with three big announcements this week.

“Today’s contract winners, the Port of Lowestoft will be at the frontline of construction work for East Anglia ONE and Galloper wind farms which will bring millions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs to the economy. These big contracts and the prospect of more to come will power the town’s and the wider region’s economy.”