Lowestoft bid for wind energy capital

INTERNATIONAL investment could see new jobs created in Lowestoft as the town's push to become the wind energy capital of the UK moves forward, according to its MP.

INTERNATIONAL investment could see new jobs created in Lowestoft as the town's push to become the wind energy capital of the UK moves forward, according to its MP.

Bob Blizzard, MP for Waveney, has been backing the town's prospects for some time and on Tuesday he told officials at the European Wind Energy Conference, in Marseille, that Lowestoft is ideally located to benefit from growth in the offshore energy sector.

Mr Blizzard's optimism has been reinforced now that 40 bids from 18 different companies for the right to set up the next round of windfarms in nine designated zones around the UK coast have been received.

The biggest zone is directly off the coast of Lowestoft and will eventually be home to the Greater Gabbard wind farm, which with 140 turbines and a capacity of about 500MW will be the largest in Britain.


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Mr Blizzard said that Lowestoft's location makes it the ideal base for offshore energy companies and that renewable energy company Airtricity has already agreed to use Lowestoft's Orbis Energy centre as its operational base for the Greater Gabbard development.

He said: 'Given that the largest of the zones is directly off the coast from Lowestoft, this has to be good news for our area. This could bring loads of jobs to our area and it is a massive project that deserves support.

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'Now that our government has set legally binding targets for reducing CO2 emissions, we will need to think large scale on offshore renewables.

'Speaking at the conference was an ideal opportunity to underline the government's and Lowestoft's commitment to renewable energy.'

As well as creating jobs and investment across the country, new windfarms around the British coast should quadruple the present output of wind turbines from 8GW to 33GW.

The 40 bids - which include tenders by companies from nine different countries - will now be assessed by the Crown Estate so that a shortlist can be drawn up for each of the nine zones. Later this year, negotiations with preferred bidders will start so that agreements can be in place by the end of 2009.

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