East coast set for ‘economic benefits’ from offshore wind farm

FRESH details have emerged about the UK's second largest wind farm, which will be built off the north Suffolk coast.

It will cover approximately 6,000sq km – off the Suffolk and Norfolk coasts – and generate up to 7,200 megawatts of electricity, enough for more than four million homes.

ScottishPower Renewables has now signed two further agreements to connect the generated electricity to the National Grid, at Lowestoft and Norwich. It has already agreed a link through a sub station at Bramford, near Ipswich.

And a spokesman for the energy firm yesterday gave the strongest indication yet that connections will be kept under ground.

He said: 'We're hopeful that it will be under ground because of the initial surveys we have done and the conversations we've had.

'We don't have full control over the whole process but from what we now know under ground is the most viable option.'

But he added those hopes could be dashed by environmental or engineering stumbling blocks.

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The first phase – known as East Anglia ONE – will be built around 43km (about 25 miles) off the Suffolk coast and will cover an area of 300 sq km.

It will be made up of around 420 turbines creating 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough for 720,000 homes.

ScottishPower Renewables expect to have a planning application for the first stage of the project by 2013, with construction expected to start two years later.

The company said it is already talking with Suffolk education providers so they can tailor training to provide workers for the project, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

The spokesman said: 'We have always said the more economic benefits we can bring to Suffolk the better.'

He confirmed once complete the wind farm would be the second largest in the UK, behind the Dogger Bank facility near Newcastle.

Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, a separate project, which should be completed in about two years and is around 25 kilometres (about 15 miles) from Sizewell, will be made up of 140 turbines generating around 500 megawatts.

For more details on the project visit www.eastangliawind.com

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