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Lowestoft could be a 'global centre for offshore wind', says town's MP

Sembmarine SLP Dudgeon Jacket celebration event at OrbisEnergy Centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk. L-R Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney and Paul Thomson, MD of Sembmarine SLP.

Sembmarine SLP Dudgeon Jacket celebration event at OrbisEnergy Centre, Lowestoft, Suffolk. L-R Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney and Paul Thomson, MD of Sembmarine SLP.

Angela Sharpe Photography

A "global centre for offshore wind" could be created in Lowestoft - but the area has got to make the most of the opportunities the industry could bring to the area, an MP has warned.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said he believed the renewable energy industry “will be at the forefront of driving regeneration and creating jobs” at a time when the oil and gas sector faces decline.

“It could cascade all the way down the economy - that’s what it has the potential to do for this area,” he said.

“We can create something sustainable for the long-term.”

However he said: “We need to be getting down to the hard work and make sure that we make the most of those opportunities, so they come here rather than going elsewhere.

“That’s the challenge that lays ahead for us.”

Speaking at a recent event organised by Lowestoft-based firm Sembmarine SLP to mark the completion of the new “jacket” built for its offshore wind farm substation, Mr Aldous said that renewable energy is increasingly coming to the fore nationally.

“That is because the government sees its value in generating energy at scale,” he said, as well as “the potential to to create new jobs and revitalise local economies”.

He added that was particularly the case in “coastal areas that have perhaps been forgotten in the past but have a significant role to play in rebalancing the economy”.

However he said it was crucial firms like Sembmarine SLP had a “steady stream of work” from offshore wind and that there wasn’t a “boom or bust mentality”.

But the town also needs to make improvements like building a third crossing as well, he said, adding: “There is nothing worse when you’re trying to encourage businesses to to come here then them sitting in a traffic jam.

“They need to be able to get here in the first place.

“We need to make sure we make the most of it and establish Lowestoft as a global centre for offshore wind.”

Sembmarine SLP managing director Paul Thomson has said one of his company’s main goals is winning contracts for the new East Anglia ONE wind farm off the Suffolk coast, which the company is heavily bidding for.

What impact do you think the renewable energy industry will have in Waveney? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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