The developer behind Norfolk’s largest green energy projects hopes a deal with a local port would trigger major investment from the offshore wind power supply chain, potentially creating thousands of new jobs in the region.
Vattenfall, developing Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Peel Ports Great Yarmouth in 2017 to explore locating the Swedish energy group’s operations base at the East Anglian facility.
As both approach a final commercial agreement that will cement a 25-year minimum residence in the port, both say that an investment by Vattenfall to locate there could trigger major investment by the supply chain in Norfolk.
Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm, said: “We are making substantial progress with Peel Ports on an agreement to locate our operations base at the Great Yarmouth facility. If we build both wind farms, we expect to employ up to 150 skilled, local technicians to maintain our projects for a minimum of 25-years. But what we think is really exciting is that we know that a potential multi-billion-pound investment in our wind farms would encourage the supply chain to cluster around us and other operators off East Anglia. So, we want to work with other economic interests like EEEGR and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce to capture that benefit for the area and establish Norfolk as a world leading hub for offshore wind power.”
He added: “And its not only coastal communities that will benefit. We are also proposing significant investment in onshore infrastructure. The construction works alone would lead to securing 300-400 jobs in the region.”
Richard Goffin, Port Director Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, said: “Vattenfall’s intent to locate their operations base at Great Yarmouth is testament to the Port’s influential position in the wider offshore energy arena, which is complemented by a supportive County and Borough Council. This agreement will leverage Great Yarmouth’s position as the East of England’s most successful offshore energy hub and attract further investment in the existing world-class supply chain, bringing a host of employment and economic growth opportunities to the region.”
Chief Executive of Great Yarmouth-based 3sun Group, Graham Hacon, said: “This investment would be a beacon to encourage companies to relocate or set up here, growing a world-class hub for a long-term industry. Investment like this will bring employment, prosperity and aspiration for the wider area for decades to come.
“We already have a dynamic, inventive and flexible supply chain in the east of England that has worked hard to shape itself for the growing offshore wind industry, many adapting its offer from a background of oil and gas. A 25-year commitment would be an opportunity for companies already here, while stimulating new supply chain investment in the area and its people.”
Both Vattenfall and Peel Ports expect to finalise their agreement by summer 2018.