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Centre will put town on energy map

PUBLISHED: 19:47 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:37 05 July 2010

THE Orbis energy centre at Ness Point is set to be the catalyst for creating a hi tech renewable energy industry in Lowestoft and the east of England, it was claimed this week.

THE Orbis energy centre at Ness Point is set to be the catalyst for creating a hi tech renewable energy industry in Lowestoft and the east of England, it was claimed this week.

The landmark building is on course to open in the summer and on Monday industry leaders and politicians gathered at the building for a topping-out ceremony.

About 40 small to medium-size companies involved in offshore energy will move into the complex, creating in the region of 150 jobs and making the town the hub of the renewable industry sector and potentially the "wind energy capital" of the country.

Guest of honour was Danuta Hübner, the European Union's commissioner for regional policy, who was also in the town to launch an £80m European grant to boost the low-carbon economy in East Anglia.

Ms Hübner said: "The Orbis centre is a beautiful place and I am convinced this building will stimulate the development of the offshore industry for Lowestoft and the region.

"It is important you take the lessons you have learned and share them with others."

Speaking about the £80m grant to help businesses cut emissions and boost economic growth, she added: "I'm sure the programme will create jobs and growth in the region and will leave a lasting legacy for the east of England."

The funding for the £9m Orbis - Offshore Renewable Business - centre was confirmed a year ago and will also help the regenerate the Ness Point area.

The project has been backed by the East of England Development Agency (Eeda), the Government Office for the East of England, Suffolk County and Waveney District councils, Renewables East and the EU.

Richard Ellis, chairman of Eeda, said: "This is a landmark building for the east and shows we are determined to continue being a major force in the energy sector.

"It's an important element in the regeneration of Lowestoft and is about building community confidence. I believe the future for Lowestoft is very exciting."

Local politicians also stressed the importance of the renewable energy sector to Lowestoft and the region.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: "Lowestoft is right in the middle of all of this. I think we can really achieve our aim of being the wind energy capital of the country. This is an important step forward."

Wendy Mawer, Waveney District Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, said: "This is the most exciting day we have had in Lowestoft and Waveney for a long time."

In relation to the carbon emissions grant, MEP Richard Howitt added: "The money is going to give us a huge boost in cementing Lowestoft, our whole region and Britain as the key leader for renewable energy in Europe."

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