Dawn of a new era in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 07:01 07 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:42 05 July 2010

TODAY sees the dawn of a new era as Lowestoft makes a claim to be the wind-energy capital of the UK.

Government minister Lord Hunt will officially open the £9.

TODAY sees the dawn of a new era as Lowestoft makes a claim to be the wind-energy capital of the UK.

Government minister Lord Hunt will officially open the £9.4m OrbisEnergy centre close to the town's Ness Point.

It is hoped the building will attract companies and experts in the growing industry of renewable energy.

Already some of the leading companies in the field are making the centre a UK and European base, including Airtricity, the company building the world's largest windfarm off the Suffolk coast at Greater Gabbard.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard is hoping that the renewable energy sector leads to an investment bonanza and many new jobs for the Lowestoft area.

The MP said the map produced by the Crown Estates showing designated windfarm zones in the North Sea placed Lowestoft in a prime position.

“This brings us even closer to our aim of becoming the wind-energy capital of the UK. The publication of this map confirms the next round of wind energy is set to bring a jobs and investment bonanza to Lowestoft.

“I have been lobbying the Crown Estate to recognise the strategic importance of Lowestoft for offshore wind, but this goes even further than expected, with a huge chunk of the coast off Lowestoft allocated as a prime spot for offshore windfarms,” he said.

Mr Blizzard will welcome Lord Hunt, the minister for energy and climate change, to Lowestoft and they will first visit the Trident Energy project, in Commercial Road, Lowestoft.

The Trident generator is a unique system undergoing trials off the Suffolk coast that converts wave energy into electricity.

They will then go to the OrbisEnergy centre where Lord Hunt will be given a tour of the building before the opening ceremony.

The building has already won an international Green Apple Award for energy efficiency and is the flagship building for the expected £8 billion investment over the next 10 years into offshore renewable energy in the east of England.

The five-storey building built on stilts just 30 years from the UK's most easterly point has 30 office units for renewable energy companies.

The centre is owned by Suffolk County Council and managed by business support specialists NWES.

The project received £6m in funding from the East of England Development Agency and was also part-financed by the European Union with additional contributions from Waveney District Council.

Richard Howitt, Labour MEP, added: “This is a beacon project for the whole of Europe which sends out a message that our region is a leader in promoting low-carbon growth for business and environment.

“It's fantastic that European money can help place Lowestoft at the focal point of the European renewable energy agenda.”

Yesterday the centre was open to the public and scores of visitors took the opportunity of touring the complex.

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