Wind farm to bring jobs to port

ASSOCIATED British Ports is investing in a new facility at the Port of Lowestoft to serve as the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm.

ASSOCIATED British Ports is investing in a new facility at the Port of Lowestoft to serve as the operations centre for the Greater Gabbard Offshore Windfarm.

An warehouse on the fish market site alongside the Waveney Dock is being converted to house the onshore operational support for turbines which are being constructed 15 miles off the Suffolk coast.

When completed, Greater Gabbard will be the world's largest offshore wind farm, with the Port of Lowestoft also playing host to a fleet of high-speed offshore catamarans, capable of reaching the turbines in around one hour.

In all, it is expected that the port development will generate around 150 local jobs in the town.

Alastair MacFarlane, ABP port manager for East Anglia, said: “Lowestoft has a long-established reputation as a centre for the offshore energy industry, and the port's central role in the operation of the Greater Gabbard wind farm will only act to enhance this reputation.”

The wind farm is being developed by Airtricity, the renewables development division of Scottish and Southern Energy plc, in a 50:50 joint venture with RWE Innogy.

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Airtricity's project director, John Hill, said: “The turbines are being installed off the Suffolk coast, adjacent to two sand banks known as 'Inner Gabbard' and 'Galloper'.

“Consisting of 140 offshore wind turbines and two offshore substations, the project will produce electricity sufficient to power more than 415,000 homes.

“Three sub-sea export cables will export the power back to shore, landing at Sizewell. The wind farm is scheduled to produce its first power later this year, with final completion in early 2011.”

The conversion of the onshore operations centre is being overseen by Bidwells Building Consultancy, with the construction work being carried out by ISG Jackson.

Bret Hallworth, partner at Bidwells, said: “This project will create a fully-refurbished environment from a former Waveney Fish Market warehouse which has been empty for a number of years and will help to revive the area as a whole.”

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