The East of England is home to over 52% of the UK’s installed capacity for Offshore Wind. Wind farms are continuously being constructed along our coastline, where the shallow waters and fresh winds make it the ideal area for renewable energy – and the biggest offshore wind market in the world.
The ports of Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Harwich and Wells have become key hubs for assembly, construction, operations and maintenance for the sector; from turbine pre-assembly and installation, to providing support services, bringing a major boost to over 800 supply chain companies in the region.
The UK has been the world leader in offshore wind since October 2008, generating around eight terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity each year. The offshore wind market is due to provide 20 % of the nation’s power by 2020 with the sector creating about 6,800 full time jobs across the UK. A robust, flexible and ambitious supply chain has grown, while skills provision by employers and colleges has created an adaptable mobile workforce that can move from project to project.
Businesses based in the East of England Energy Zone (EEEZ) are perfectly located to support the development of the offshore wind sector in the SNS. Some of the world’s biggest wind farms are being built a few miles off the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline including East Anglia ONE, East Anglia TWO, East Anglia ONE North, East Anglia THREE, Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard, while other UK Round 3 developments, Dogger and Hornsea, as well as Dutch offshore wind developments are easily accessible from EEEZ deep-water harbours.
Great Yarmouth played a pioneering role in the UK Round 1 Scroby Sands wind farm, which first supplied the national grid with electricity in 2005 and has continued to play a vital role in many Round 2 wind farms, including the construction of Sheringham Shoal and Lincs offshore wind farms.
Scroby Sands was one of the first commercial offshore wind farms to be built in the UK. Commissioned in March 2004 the 30-turbine wind farm 3km off the coast has also become a popular landmark and tourist attraction. Scroby Sands is operated and maintained by E.ON from the river port in Great Yarmouth.
The construction of both Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) Greater Gabbard and Galloper offshore wind farms was supported by the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft sub-region with both wind farms managed from dedicated operations and maintenance (O&M) facilities in Lowestoft.
Lowestoft is the home for ScottishPower Renewable’s O&M hub for the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm.
With its proven expertise, good accessibility and the right location, Great Yarmouth was chosen to host the operations and maintenance for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm with a purpose-built base in the river port opened in 2016 which also supports Hywind. This test development in Scotland, also operated by Equinor, is the world’s first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, situated 29 kilometres off Peterhead.