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New wind farm approved off Suffolk coast

PUBLISHED: 09:45 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:20 06 July 2010

A new windfarm off the coast of Suffolk has been given the green light.

Situated about 18 miles off the coast, the Galloper wind farm will be situated next to the Greater Gabbard wind farm which is already under construction.

A new windfarm off the coast of Suffolk has been given the green light.

Situated about 18 miles off the coast, the Galloper wind farm will be situated next to the Greater Gabbard wind farm which is already under construction.

The extension is set to double the offshore wind power generated in the area, with both sites having the capacity of around 500 megawatts.

RNE Npower Renewables and its partner SSE Renewables welcomed the go-ahead to develop the wind farm, which is the latest in a series approved in the southern North Sea.

Paul Coffey, chief operating officer of parent company RWE Innogy, said: "The opportunity to develop a wind farm close to the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm site has a number of advantages: we know that this is an excellent site for a wind farm, there is already the necessary infrastructure in place, and if consented one can benefit from the long-term operational and maintenance activities due to the close proximity of the two wind farms.'

The go-ahead for construction of the Galloper wind farm was one of four given by Crown Estate. Others were approved off the coasts of Kent, Cumbria and in Liverpool Bay, creating an extra 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of power - enough for an extra 1.4 million homes.

It is hoped the developments will add to England's energy security and provide jobs and a stable flow of construction projects for the supply chain before the massive "Round 3" expansion of offshore wind kicks in.

The news will provide further optimism about a potential jobs boost in Lowestoft and Waveney, where politicians and business leaders have been canvassing companies in the hope that they will bring much-needed manufacturing and servicing work to the area.

Meanwhile, two projects off the coast of Norfolk have been given the go-ahead to install extra capacity to harness more wind energy within their designated offshore area.

Rob Hastings, the Crown Estate's director of the marine estate, said the extra 2GW of power had been driven by "developers' appetite” for offshore wind.

He said: "It is another positive step in the maturing of the offshore wind industry and will significantly support the growth of the supply chain as it adds further to the pipeline of construction projects.

"This announcement shows the Crown Estate's commitment to help develop this maturing sector with a view to driving the UK offshore wind energy industry forward and creating a long-term sustainable energy source for the UK.'

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said the announcement gave "definitive and positive' evidence of the environmental and commercial viability of existing offshore wind projects.

"The site extensions come as a direct consequence of the UK's world-beating offshore wind farms showing that, after a successful start, they have further potential for growth,' she said.

In addition to the Greater Gabbard extension, Vattenfall Wind Power has been given approval to extend its Kentish Flats and Thanet projects off the coast of Kent, and Dong Wind UK has received the green light to extend Burbo Bank, near Liverpool, and Walney, Cumbria.

Centrica Renewable Energy has been permitted to install extra capacity on Race Bank and Warwick Energy can add to its Dudgeon site capacity, both off the Norfolk coast.

Responding to the announcement, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Tony Bosworth said: "This is another significant step forward along the path to a greener, safer future.

"The UK's renewable energy potential is huge - maximising it would slash emissions, increase energy security and generate tens of thousands of jobs.

"All the major political parties agree on the need to build a low-carbon economy - urgent measures to boost green energy must be a top priority for whoever forms the next government.'

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