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Lowestoft leads way for operational base

PUBLISHED: 13:13 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:03 06 July 2010

LOWESTOFT is hoping to become the operational base for the company which is set to develop the world's second largest offshore wind farm just 14km off the north Suffolk and Norfolk coast.

LOWESTOFT is hoping to become the operational base for the company which is set to develop the world's second largest offshore wind farm just 14km off the north Suffolk and Norfolk coast.

With 1,000 turbines likely to be built on the 603,680-hectare East Anglia Array wind farm site - which is bigger than the county of Norfolk - the town could capitalise on an earmarked 1,000 jobs that are likely to be created directly, with another 4,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Lowestoft is a leading contender to provide the operational and maintenance base for the project. The new licensees to the East Anglia Array wind farm - which is also known as Zone 5 Norfolk Bank - are East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd, which is equally owned by ScottishPower Renewables and Swedish company Vattenfall Vindkraft.

The new licensees have said they would set up its base in East Anglia and that Lowestoft is an “attractive option” to what is likely to be a £15bn project.

Keith Anderson, of the ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall joint venture, said they were delighted to have been awarded the licence.

“There is no doubt that delivering the East Anglia Array will be a major engineering challenge but the combined experience of both partners acquired over decades in the energy business will help us deliver a project that will deliver enough green power to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand of more than five million homes in the UK,” he said.

Initial investigations suggest that the East Anglia Array has the potential to generate approximately 7.2GW of renewable energy, which would make a substantial contribution to the UK's carbon reduction targets to combat climate change.

Discussions have already started with interested parties and environmental groups and a comprehensive and long-term engagement exercise will be carried out with local communities.

The partners are also aiming to work with local businesses and employ local workers where possible and are engaging with regional development agencies to discuss the best ways to take this forward.

Ignacio Galán, chairman and chief execuitve of Iberdrola, parent company of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We are delighted to be working with Vattenfall on what will be one of the world's largest wind farm developments.

“As the largest developer of onshore wind power in the UK, we have acquired a great deal of expertise in the last 15 years that will help us to achieve such an ambitious project,” added Galán, who is also chairman of ScottishPower and of Iberdrola Renovables.

Lars G Josefsson, the president and chief executive of Swedish energy utility Vattenfall, said: “Making electricity clean is Vattenfall's promise to its customers and society, and offshore wind is a cornerstone of our contribution to a better

climate.

“Vattenfall is therefore delighted to be working with ScottishPower Renewables and we are excited about the prospect of using our wide and varied offshore wind experience gained building schemes across Europe by developing a wind farm off the East Anglia coast.”

The partnership has established a joint-venture company called East Anglia Offshore Wind Ltd and its team of specialists have now started to assess the engineering challenges of the East Anglia zone and research any potential significant environmental effects.

ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall are hoping to submit the first planning application in 2012. If approved, it is anticipated that construction would begin in 2015 and would be carried out in phases.

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